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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Differences in the Nutritional Situation of Population Groups as a Factor of Conflict Risk? The Case of Dagara and Fulani in South-west Burkina Faso

Judith Bernhard1, Tanja Pickardt2

1Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Germany
2Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Department of Livestock Ecology, Germany


According to FAO (2003), 17% of Burkina Faso's population are undernourished (1999-2001). In the South-Western regions, the nutrition situation is even worse: 30% of children under five are severely malnourished (weight/age < -2SD), and 25% chronically malnourished (height/age < -2SD). The insufficient nutritional situation has to be seen in the context of migration by parts of the population from the northern sahelian provinces strongly affected by desertification towards the more humid and less populated southern regions.

This study compares the nutritional situation of immigrated Fulani pastoralists and the autochthonous Dagara farmers in two research villages situated in the Poni province. Based on previous studies about land conflicts, the consumption of food in terms of energy and proteins and the expenditures for food and non-food commodities according to different seasons were investigated in 20 % of all concessions. The applied methods were: 24 h-recalls combined with weighing, semi-structured interviews, observation of local markets.

Results show that in both villages, nutrition is insufficient in quantity and quality. The mean dietary energy supply during dry season was less than 2200 kcal/day per person and didn't achieve the recommended energy requirement. Especially during rainy season (mean dietary energy supply of 1700 kcal/day per person), the daily alimentation was not secured, since the stocks from the last harvest were too small, and the additional off-farm-income did not allow buying sufficient amounts of staple food, meat or legumes.
Compared to the autochthonous population, the immigrated Fulani had advantages: The higher income generated through cattle commercialisation resulted in higher expenditures for food commodities; also the direct access to food of animal origin rich in proteins and micronutrients was generally higher. These differences can contribute to reinforce already existing conflicts between the two ethnic groups.

The encouragement of the commercial- and exchange-activities between Dagara and Fulani (exchange dung – fodder, commercialisation of milk products, additional incomes for Dagara farmers by working on Fulani fields) can supply the nutritional situation's improvement. On the other hand, such activities can contribute to reduce the conflict risk.

Keywords: Burkina Faso, conflicts, household expenditure, nutrition

Contact Address: Tanja Pickardt, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Department of Livestock Ecology, Liebigstraße 21, 35390 Gießen, Germany, e-mail: tanja.pickardt@agrar.uni-giessen.de

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