In April 2018, WAFM’s Team Leader, Terry Lacey and Policy Facility Manager, Noel Kossonou, held series of high-level engagements with senior government officials in Burkina Faso to discuss and address the Special Export License Scheme in that country. The WAFM delegation met with the Ministry of Commerce, Agriculture and Special Advisor to the President on Burkina on Agriculture.
Burkina Faso has in place a Special Export License since the 2007/2008 food crisis on staples food such as sorghum and maize which restricts the export of these commodities to avoid acute famine in the country.. This policy is inhibiting the cross border trade opportunities for grain traders and especially WAFM grantees who are encouraged to increase their cross border trade transactions.
Meeting with Ministry of Commerce
WAFM held meetings with Mr. Somba Christian, Chief Director of the Ministry of Commerce to understand the rationale for the enforcement of the policy on restriction export of the cereals in the region. The Chief Director explained that the Special Export License Policy was being implemented by an Inter-Ministerial Committee that monitors food production in the country. He indicated that the Inter-Ministerial Committee advises the government, depending on food production information, to either tighten or loosen the export of staples out of the country. The Chief Director also indicated that the reason the country experiences poor harvest is due to poor organisation from the Ministry of Agriculture and poor agriculture practice on the side of farmers. The Chief Director recommended that emphasis should be laid on improving the food production through new methods of farming to enable to ban to be lifted.
Meeting with Burkina Food Security Secretariat (Stock National de Securité, SNS)
WAFM met the Permanent Secretary of the Food Security Secretariat, Mrs Benedicta Ouedraogo who also corroborated the information on the status of Special Export License Scheme provided by the Ministry of Commerce. She indicated that the Food Security Secretariat was considering the possibility of stocking more nutritional/fortified food in the national food reserves, managed by SONAGESS. The initiative would expand production and further increase the volume of processed food for markets and address both food security and nutritional issues. WAFM welcomed the initiative which is in line with WAFM’s newly adopted project financing approach.
Meeting with Presidential Advisor on Agriculture
The WAFM team held a meeting with Dr. Mathias SOME, Special Advisor to the President of Burkina Faso on Agriculture to advocate the temporal lifting of the Special Export License (ASE) to allow more staple food export to the rest of the region. Dr. SOME stated that government will stop enforcing the policy once food production in the country increases. He indicated that the Government is implementing the Presidential Initiative on Agricultural Development and welcomes the support of WAFM in that direction.
Terry Lacey, WAFM’s Team Leader said his project was already contributing to increasing staple food production in Burkina Faso through its Challenge Fund grant support to four agribusinesses located in the country namely: ADS-an agro-input dealer distributing fertilizers, seeds and agricultural equipment; NAFASO- a seed producer; FAGRI -involved in production, marketing and distribution of certiﬁed maize, sorghum, millet seeds; and AGROSERVE-an industrial maize processing factory.
WAFM is therefore committed to increasing the production of staple foods in Burkina Faso through irrigation systems to ensure yearlong production of the staples; increased access to finance for farmers as well as increased staple food processing.