Smallholder 'Warrantage' in Burkina Faso

Access to credit through local storage systems

Publication date: 13 October 2015

Access to credit and effective storage for grain are two issues affecting small-scale farmers in Burkina Faso. Warrantage, a French word commonly used in West Africa, describes the inventory credit system (normally called the warehouse receipt system, or WRS, in English). This means granting credit with grain as collateral in secure warehouses where a third independent party holds the collateral on behalf of both the creditor and the debtor.

In Burkina Faso, farmers' organizations have used ‘smallholder’ warrantage for several years. In this storage system, farmers keep part of their harvest in their own stores secured by two locks. One key is held by the farmers, while the second is held by the microfinance institution, with no third party involved. Warrantage allows both access to credit for income-generating activities and adequate grain storage, thereby contributing to the better preservation of crops, as well as better household management of food and money. Warrantage is more popular in the southern and south-west areas of the country, where there is a surplus production of grain, while in areas further north (where crops are scarce), pilot schemes are only just emerging. This report describes how warrantage operates and provides an analysis of its economic viability in the Centre-Nord region of Burkina Faso.

Please note: This report is only available in French.