IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
3. Climate Change and Disasters
(2iE), Bruno Barbier (CIRAD), Harouna Karambiri (2iE), Hama Yacouba (2iE)
climate change, vulnerability, adaptation, economic analysis, poverty
AbstractThe sahelian rural
population is considered to be the most vulnerable on earth and this vulnerability is considered to be caused mainly
by the variability of west African monsoon. Sahelians have been the most hit by droughts in the seventies and
eighties. Farmers and herders are now recovering as rainfalls have improved lately but the question remains whether
the new environment and farmers capabilities have improved so as to better cope with future shocks.
these questions, focus groups discussions and two detailed surveys were carried in a community in northern Burkina
Faso among a random sample of one hundred heads of households. Farmers’ perception and farm characteristics
were analyzed with a cluster analysis to distinguish farmers’ groups regarding their assets and their strategies. The
main discriminant factors are herd size, access to small irrigation plots and access to draft animals. The groups react
differently to climate changes and are likely to follow contrasting pathways of adaptation. New migrations strategies
are also investigated be it in the country or outside. The likely impact of seasonal predictions is evaluated. Farmers
feel that predictions without credit for crop input cannot change much their investment plan. New technology
adoption is occurring fast but the impact is mixed because rapid population growth and shadowy land degradation is
masking the benefits of innovations.
Contrarily to some recent discourses farmers have great difficulties to adapt
to climate variability. Coping strategies were unable to prevent the famine of the seventies and the crisis of 2004 was
severe. The reason is that at the same time as climate has changed, population pressure has reached a threshold.
Now land has become scarce and mobility is more restricted. External investments, new techniques and new
organisations are required to help farmers intensify agriculture in a sustainable way, which means a non-declining and
less chaotic production.