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Agri 2024

SAWADOGO Abdoulaye

SAWADOGO Abdoulaye, Speaker at Agriculture Conferences
Joseph Ki-Zerbo University, Burkina Faso
Title : Security crisis and agricultural crisis: when farmers swap the hoe for the gun in Burkina Faso


The purpose of this reflection is to analyse the agricultural situation in Burkina Faso in the context of the security crisis. The security crisis that has gripped the country since 2015 is having a greater impact on rural areas, which are home to 73%85 of the country's farmers (INSD, 2019), the vast majority of whom earn their living from agriculture. The instability that reigns in this environment affects this category of actor, which explains the number of internally displaced people, which will amount to 2,062,534 people in 2023 (CONASUR), the majority of whom are rural farmers. Faced with the violence imposed by terrorist groups, the inhabitants of villages under terrorist control are adopting strategies to protect their villages against possible attacks. This makes farming increasingly impossible. With this in mind, the aim of this study is to analyse the temporary reconversion of farmers, in other words, the transition from the status of farmer to that of volunteer defender of the homeland in areas of high agricultural production, and the impact of this reconversion on farming practices in the Boucle du Mouhoun, considered to be the granary of Burkina Faso. In order to gain a better understanding of the issue, a qualitative approach was adopted to gain insight into the world of the farmers. To this end, interviews and observations were carried out in some of the villages that were still accessible, as well as in the localities where the displaced people were staying. The techniques used to collect the data enabled us to understand the difficulties experienced by the population in terms of the symbolic link between the farmer and the land. The study shows that the impossibility of farming paves the way for food insecurity in areas that used to be self-sufficient in food, because the able-bodied now have a dual role to play, namely protecting the village and agricultural production. This food insecurity has consequences that go beyond the production area, as the whole country is suffering the consequences of instability in the rural environment.

Key word : Security crisis; agricultural crisis; farmers; terrorism and Burkina Faso

Key Takeaways:

  • This work is of twofold interest: scientific and social. Scientifically, it provides new knowledge in the field of rural sociology in its agrarian dimension in a context of insecurity marked by terrorism in the Sahel. Previous studies have focused on the social consequences of the crisis, but very few have analysed it in relation to the agrarian field. This research therefore identifies the impact of the crisis on agriculture and farmers.
  • At a social level, the study enables the public to understand the effects of terrorism on farmers, who were already victims of the vagaries of the climate and other structural problems affecting the farming world. It explains the life of the peasant in an environment where it is almost impossible to carry out his activity. This will lead to the precariousness of the rural population as a result of the food crisis taking root in the rural world.
  • The results of this reflection provide new data for the public, more specifically for decision-makers and all other actors involved in the rural world in particular and the humanitarian sector in general. It will therefore make it possible to identify the trajectory of the farmer in a crisis environment. In this way, the results offer practical solutions to a real problem that is undermining the agrarian world in Burkina Faso.


Abdoulaye SAWADOGO is a sociologist and lecturer in the sociology department at the Joseph KI-ZERBO University in Burkina Faso. His research focuses on development, rural and agrarian issues, the environment and culture. He is a member of the Society, Mobility and Environment Laboratory. Before entering higher education in Burkina Faso, he was a member of several research teams (national and international) on a variety of topics, including health, the environment and agriculture. This dynamism enabled him to receive a post-doctoral grant in 2020 from the africamultiple centre of excellence at Joseph KI-ZERBO University. He is the author of more than ten scientific publications.

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