|Burkina Faso has a large agriculture sector contributing almost 40% of the GDP and 80% of export earnings but it still falls into the FAO category of "low-income food deficit countries". This is mainly due to the high rainfall variability which ranges from 400 mm in the North East to 1200 mm in the extreme southwest.
Water and Water Resources
There are an estimated 8 billion m3 of surface water in Burkina Faso and 9.5 billion m3 of groundwater. Unfortunately the geology makes it difficult for smallholder farmers to access the groundwater.
The potential irrigable land is estimated at 233,500 ha. In 2004 Ministère de l'Agriculture, de l'Hydraulique et des Ressources Halieutiques (MAHRH) estimated that 32,258 ha (14 %) of the developed areas were actually harvested annually.
Agriculture and Irrigation Policy
The hydro-agricultural development policy (2004) emphasizes small-scale irrigation and promotes user participation, farmers' organizations and private investment in large and medium facilities.
Understanding farmers constraints and needs
In Burkina Faso, most of the agricultural production is rainfed and farmers are typically traditional subsistence farmers. However, smallholders are developing irrigated vegetable plots in areas with water and good market connections.
Options should be considered that apply to rainfed staple crops and enable diversification e.g., drip irrigation, supplementary irrigation with water lifting devices (motor pumps and solar pumps), development of water sources including small dams, ponds/boulis and “valley bottom” (bas fonds).