Burkina Faso

The  Country activities are led by the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization, CIRAD, a CGIAR partner.


Eric Vall (, animal scientist expert on tropical livestock systems, CIRAD

Related News


  • Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA)
  • Centre International de Recherche-Développement sur l’Elevage en zone Subhumide (CIRDES) 
”The results of the different work packages are helping us to co-design an agroecological business model with our partners and ALL members, considering its feasibility, the expected performance of the business model, the institutional & policy support as well as the behavioral changes of food system actors that are required to make the transition happen.”

Eric Vall, animal scientist expert on tropical livestock systems, CIRAD

About the Agroecological Living Landscape (ALL)

The Living Landscape is located in the Hauts-Bassins region, situated in western Burkina Faso, more specifically in Bobo-Dioulasso (Houet province).

The ALL is located in the Hauts-Bassins region, situated in western Burkina Faso, more specifically in Bobo-Dioulasso (Houet province).

The Hauts-Bassins region, and specifically Bobo-Dioulasso, is a national and international hub for the transportation of goods and people. In Bobo-Dioulasso, the agri-food industry is an essential sector, given the agricultural potential of the region and the availability of labor. The processing units based in Bobo-Dioulasso promote the creation of added value. The development of semi- modern processing micro-enterprises is in progress. Several production units of commercial goods and services are located in the Hauts-Bassins contributing to the employment of youth and the creation of added value.

The region is one of the most drained in Burkina Faso. Soils in this area are shallow and low in nutrients. Climate change effects are a reality with irregular rainfall within and between seasons, a decrease in the number of rainy days and a rise in average temperatures. Those trends have consequences on the pastoral breeding activity which is an axis of the country’s economy. The export of livestock is increasing and accounts for about 9.6% of export income in the Hauts-Bassins area.

The dairy food system

Over the past 20 years, dairy production in Bobo-Dioulasso has changed little. More semi intensive dairy farming systems driven by market demand and by the search for intensification methods at lower financial costs have only recently emerged. A proliferation of mini-dairy processors and milk collection centers can be noted. Sodré et al. (2022) in a recent study shown the emergence of dairy cow feeding practices based on the use of quality fodder, in line with local market demand. These feeding systems, which are very promising from a technical and financial point of view, are nevertheless still little adopted.

In Bobo-Dioulasso, the Agroecology Initiative is working with the Dairy Innovations Platform (DIP). The innovation platform is made up of dairy farmers, milk collection centers, private collectors, dairy processing units, public support/accompanying services and private providers and institutions. The overall objective of the platform is to increase the production, collection, processing, and daily marketing of local milk in the Bobo-Dioulasso dairy milkshed by up to 18,000 liters/day by ensuring a fairer economy between dairy farmers and dairy processors. Attention is given to the application of a harmonized milk price by collectors, and a better distribution system for collected milk according to the daily needs of processors.

Illustration: Input to a discussion around the Bobo-Dioulasso milk value chain with ALL members – an agroecological package composed of a demonstration plot, a covered manure pit, and the co-design of a balanced forage feed for the livestock.

Read the context assessment: 

Agriculture and agroecology in the Hauts-Bassins region, an ALL intervention area in Burkina Faso 

Progress with the initiative implementation

The ultimate outcome for the Bobo-Dioulasso ALL is to contribute to a sustainable increase of the dairy production with a better crop-livestock integration, to a regular supply of fresh milk to dairy processors all year around, and to deliver a diversify panel of dairy products to the consumers made with local milk.

So far, the Initiative and its partners in Burkina Faso CIRDES, INERA and CIRAD have established the Agroecological Living Landscape (ALL). Baseline information collection includes a context assessment of agriculture in the ‘Hauts Bassins’ area, the mapping of the dairy value chain of Bobo Dioulasso, and the mapping of past and ongoing agroecological initiatives and actors in Burkina Faso.

In around fifty dairy farms, plus around 30 fodder production oriented farms, ALL stakeholders are experimenting a package of three agricultural practices based on the principles of recycling, interaction and co-design of agroecology: 1) fodder production (four fodder species) and sharing seed with neighbours; 2) development of balanced food rations incorporating stored fodder with the breeder-milk producer; 3) installation of a covered manure pit near the stable and production of organic manure to fertilize farmers’ fields. (Work Package 1)

Illustration: Agroecological transition entry points in Burkina Faso. CGIAR Initiative on Agroecology, adapted from Gliessman (2007).

The Holistic Localized Performance Assessment for Agroecology Framework (HOLPA) is being tested and implemented in around 50 dairy farms (50% using the agroecological package and 50% not using it). The tool includes 12 indicators selected by the Dairy value chain stakeholders (ALL) distributed in the following four dimensions:

  • Agricultural dimension: number of manure pits, quantity and quality of fodder produced in all seasons, number of storage infrastructures.
  • Social dimension: number of actors in the local milk sector trained, number of public and private services having integrated local milk into coffee and meal breaks, number of local dairy farmers made aware and mastering the rules of living together (respect for the other).
  • Economic dimension: cost of fodder production, cost of drilling, cost of health coverage.
  • Environmental dimension: number of equipped mini-dairy processors, areas secured through title documents, number of users of biodegradable packaging. (Work Package 2)

Bearing in mind that the main objective is to connect farmers and processors through milk collection centers and key agroecological principles, the stakeholders have prioritized the development of a business model to amplify the portfolio of support services of milk collection centers to dairy farmers and processors. (Work Package 3)

To scale up the dairy value chain, it is necessary to evolve from the usual milk collection points to the establishment of multi-service milk collection centers. The illustration shows the vision of success of stakeholders for dairy farming.

Illustration: vision of success of stakeholders for dairy farming in Bobo Dioulasso.


Burkina Faso is a low-income Sahelian country with limited natural resources and a Sudano-Sahelian climate. Its economy is largely based on agriculture, although gold exports are on the rise. Burkina Faso ranks 184th out of 191 countries in the 2021–2022 Human Development Index (HDI) report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The country has suffered from recurring droughts and military coups.

According to the FAIR & TAFS report, stakeholders in Burkina Faso have three main conceptions of agroecology: Agroecology as a vector for efficiency in the use of resources, resilience to climate shocks or a means to farmers’ autonomy.

Farmers in western Burkina Faso must contend with high rainfall variability and very volatile agricultural prices. Sustained increase in agricultural and pastoral pressure on natural resources has resulted in their degradation and fragilization, leading to a decline in soil fertility, an impoverishment of pastures, and a critical decline in the potential for production and regeneration of agroecosystems.

Such trends have led many of farmers to diversify their production and to practice mixed agro-sylvo-pastoral farming systems using low levels of inputs to ensure their food self-sufficiency while containing economic risks. Those farming systems are based on cotton, cereals (maize, sorghum), legumes (groundnuts, cowpeas), and the rearing of cattle and small ruminants. Crop‑livestock synergies and by‑products recycling: major factors for agroecology in West African agro‑sylvo‑pastoral system.

Illustration: Analysis of the level of integration of the 13 principles of agroecology in the Burkina Faso ALL. Read more about the methodology used: Moeller et al. 2023. Measuring agroecology: Introducing a methodological framework and a community of practice approach. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.


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