Burkina Faso

Crops damaged by floods

Yempabou Lankoande

© Ba Mahamadou

Floods in Burkina Faso, September 2007

© Severine Flores / Tearfund.

“My name is Yempabou Lankoande and I am a farmer from Manni. I farm in the Manni rice plain. The rain has caused a lot of damage here. All of the young plants were washed away by the force of the water. Even the topsoil is gone, along with all of the seedlings we had planted. Now we have to start from scratch again. I had planted corn on my plot to get me through the lean period, but it has all been washed away by the water. There is no hope for either the corn or the rice crops. This harvest has been lost completely.”

Scientific Background

IPCC experts agree that floods alternating with droughts will become a common phenomenon in the Sahel and sub-Sahel. For Burkina Faso, this has become their reality. The country has experienced repeated flooding since 2007.

2011-2012 crop year: late onset of the rains, poor distribution in time, and their sudden and early cessation led to a 16% decline in agricultural production, coupled with food insecurity in 146 communities.

2016: torrential rain and flooding with thousands of casualties. 10,000 people were made homeless and 35 people were seriously injured.

2020: flooding and destruction in the Centre-Nord region due to thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. The homes of 3,500 internally displaced persons were damaged.

Tornadoes and instability

Ousséni Sayaogo

© Ba Mahamadou

A house destroyed by a tornado

© Ba Mahamadou

“My name is Ousséni Sayaogo and I am a farmer from Niessega. On Monday, 13 May 2013, I was in Gourcy when I received the call informing me that my house had been destroyed in a heavy rainstorm. When I arrived home, I saw the damage: the house had been torn apart and the roof sheeting scattered by the wind. I had just built this house for my family. Fortunately, there was no loss of life. At the moment, I do not have any money to rebuild the house. So I will have to wait until next year to hopefully be able to rebuild it. I wonder where my family and I can stay in the meantime. This is the first time I have witnessed something like this. It is unusual for our village, as it happened in May and the rainy season normally starts in mid- June at the earliest.”

Scientific Background

The warming of the Sahara is leading to storms of growing intensity throughout the Sahel. Extreme storms have become three times more frequent in the past 40 years and are expected to become even more frequent in the future. Unstable precipitation means shorter rainy seasons and an increase in heavy rainfall, storms and even tornadoes at unusual times of the year.


Mahamadi Sawadogo

© Ba Mahamadou

Agricultural land degradation / Zondoma Province

© Ba Mahamadou

“I’m Mahamadi Sawadogo and I come from the Plateau-Central region of Burkina Faso. As a farmer, I lead local projects in my village for the recovery of degraded soil, reforestation and so on. With climate change, things changed: drought, loss of vegetation cover, soil depletion.So I was forced to emigrate in search of better living conditions. And so it was that I came to Bourguéogo in 2003. While the climatic conditions for agriculture are better here, other problems arise, such as a lack of drinking water and roads. What’s more, as residents of a wildlife reserve, our land is subject to damage by elephants. Without an agricultural plan, poor production practices will accelerate the degradation of natural resources. Will we also have to migrate from here?”


Throughout the north and centre of the country, the severe deterioration in the ecosystem has led to soil exhaustion and insufficient rainfall. This is at the root of food insecurity, which compounds the phenomenon of poverty. The immediate consequences of the disappearance of vegetation cover are greater damage by winds – especially the Harmattan – increases in temperature, rainfall disturbance and decreased rainfall. Frequent droughts have led some of the population of the Plateau-Central region to migrate to the west and the east. These migrants contribute significantly to the degradation of the reception areas and face a great many challenges.


The Association for Research and Training in Agroecology (ARFA) helps farmers to increase their yields by using ecological cultivation methods and to better adapt to climate change.