A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Launched by the G8 two years ago, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NASAN) aims to improve food security in 10 African countries through attracting private investors into agriculture. However, in Burkina Faso, implementation of the New Alliance risks harming rather than helping family farming and food security. Burkina Faso is deregulating its farming sector, to attract big agribusiness investors, and enacting political reforms (including tax reform and land access reform) that will exclude smallholder farmers from investment opportunities and endanger food security.
In this paper, Oxfam again denounces the unacceptable risks surrounding the G8 New Alliance initiative. The New Alliance in Burkina Faso is paving the way for growing agribusiness investments and smallholder farmer marginalization. The set-up of the New Alliance in Burkina Faso needs to be reviewed, based on food security and nutrition objectives. Civil society organizations and those affected by the initiative should be consulted throughout the process; and risks to smallholder agriculture need to be urgently mitigated.
Urgent reforms are needed to strengthen existing accountability and measurement mechanisms and to ensure that smallholder farmers, particularly women, as seen the priority investors in agriculture.
Key recommendations from the report:
- France, as the leader of the G8 New Alliance in Burkina Faso, must work with the Burkina Faso government to strengthen existing accountability mechanisms, inclusive of producer organizations and CSOs, and create tools to evaluate the impact of New Alliance measures regarding food and nutrition security objectives.
- The New Alliance leadership (Host and donor governments) must re-examine ongoing and planned policy reforms to determine what impact they will have on food security and nutrition and on small-scale producers. The New Alliance leadership should consider smallholders, particularly women, as the priority investors in agriculture, and should shape incentives and policy changes for their benefit, based on consultation with producer organizations.
- As the leader of the New Alliance, France must work with the United States (Initiator of the Land Transparency Partnership in Burkina Faso) and the government of Burkina Faso to ensure that all land deals and investments are subject to the prior implementation of the VGGT; respect and uphold the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for affected communities; and do not undermine local people’s rights as defined in the Rural Land Tenure Law. Bagrépôle management must guarantee secure access to land and natural resources for all small-scale producers in Bagré.
- Burkina Faso should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of any exemption, including in the Bagré Growth Pole Project granted to agricultural large-scale investors before implementing them. Such an analysis should comprise food security and poverty reduction criteria and an evaluation of the loss in domestic resources from tax exemptions.