Agriculture is the most important economic sector in Burkina Faso. Around 80% of the population work in agriculture, contributing to approximately 40% of GDP. Most agricultural production is oriented towards food crops (e.g. sorghum, millet, maize, rice), mostly for household consumption. Important cash crops include cotton and oilseeds such as groundnuts and sesame. Cotton is the country’s most important export after gold.
Agricultural production is severely affected by land degradation. Deforestation, inadequate farming practices and demographic pressure have taken a toll on the country’s natural resources. About 19% of the country’s land area is considered degraded, and this is increasing at a rate of around 470,000 hectares per year.
In our research project, we focused on the issue of insecure land tenure as a major obstacle to sustainable land management (SLM). Together with our partner GRAF, we analysed how land tenure insecurity restricts the ability of women, youth, migrants and pastoralists to practise SLM. We also piloted a process to secure land access for 228 women.
GRAF (Groupe de Recherche et d’Action sur le Foncier) is a network of experts working on issues related to land governance and natural resource management. The organization was founded in 2001 and is based in Ouagadougou. GRAF is a member of LandNet West Africa and International Land Coalition (ILC). GRAF connects experts from different fields, conducts research, offers training courses, disseminates information, establishes platforms for exchange, and lobbies for policy reform on land tenure issues. GRAF’s work focuses on access to and management of natural resources, land conflicts and issues around soil, land acquisition, decentralization of governance, and securing land rights for women and other disadvantaged groups.http://www.graf-bf.org/