Since 2014, the USAID WA-WASH Program has supported 10 communities in Burkina Faso to implement the climate smart agriculture (CSA) approach. This approach aims to introduce farmers to agricultural techniques for improved water management in order to restore abandoned land or improve soil fertility for existing farmland.
In Burkina Faso, poor soil fertility, excessive rainwater runoff, and an uneven distribution of rainfall contribute to poor yields among subsistence farmers like Mr Sambo Kabore. Most farmers in Burkina Faso practice agriculture using traditional methods that impoverish the soil, so that they can no longer get good yields. Climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of these farmers and their families to food insecurity.
Mr. Sambo Kaboré, 52 years old, is from the village of Koudiéré in the commune of Tanghin-Dassouri located about 30 kms South West of Oudagoudou. He is the head of a family of 11 members. He lives mainly on rain-fed agriculture that he practices on his field of about two acres. Physically challenged, he cannot stands on his feet. Unlike other people who in the same situation would engage in begging, Mr Kabore decided to take control of his destiny, he made farming his main activity.
Every year, Mr. Kabore’s plot production covers the nutritional needs of his family for six months. This insufficient production is explained by poor soil, excessive runoff and the poor rainfall. In 2014, Mr Kaboré joined a group of 20 farmers trained by USAID WA-WASH program on the use of climate information and agricultural production techniques for better adaptation to climate change and yields increase (See Photo 1). The training lasted four days. During the first two days the producers have been trained on how to get and used weather information in the planning of their agricultural activities. The training showed them the need for matching crop varieties with climate and weather predictions. The last two days allowed participants to practice improved techniques, better use of rainwater and optimal management of farm inputs. These techniques aim to take into account climate variability in the day-to-day farming practices.
At the end of this training, Mr. Kabore applied techniques learned on a portion (0.14 ha) of his field which, according to him, would not have supported the production of cereals such as sorghum, millet or corn that are the basis of the family staple food in Burkina Faso.
Thanks to the techniques Mr. Kaboré applied, he was able to harvest 65 kg of sorghum on the 0.14 ha he used as a test plot. Glad to see that his land could be reclaimed for cereal production and feed his family, he decided to apply techniques learned on his entire field the coming seasons.
In addition to increasing his agricultural output, USAID WA-WASH also helped Mr. Kabore and his family build a latrine equipped with a hand-washing station (see Photo 2). This subsidized latrine allowed the members of Mr. Kabore’s family to give up open defecation. "The construction of this latrine helps members of my family. We no longer need to go into the bush to relieve ourselves. Thanks to USAID WA-WASH for this support," Mr. Kabore stated.