May 1, 2018|Press releases

News Release


Irrigation to Stabilize Burkinabé Smallholder Cotton Farmers’ Production

International Funding to Aid Vital Commodity’s Resilience

OUAGADOUGOU. May 1, 2018. About 1,000 smallholder cotton farmers are targeted to receive support for investments in land and water management, and in new irrigation systems. Under the World Bank-financed Sahel Irrigation Initiative, the Government of Burkina Faso signed a Grant Agreement with the World Bank on February 21, 2018 for US$5.85 million funding from the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA).

The aim is to support smallholder cotton farmers in the supply chain of Société Burkinabé des Fibres Textiles (SOFITEX) to improve productivity and better cope with the extremes of rainfall due to climate change. The International Finance Corporation is supporting the project by providing technical assistance and training to SOFITEX for improved farming techniques and technology adoption, in addition to co-financing a working capital facility for the company.

The project’s implementation is set to launch in April 2018, with GPOBA’s co-financing 50-80% of investments to be disbursed using a "results-based" approach, which will pay farmers upon their meeting certain project milestones and independent verification. Part of this funding will help farmers access financing from domestic financial institutions, pre-finance the sub-project investment costs and provide a partial risk facility for early entrants.

Mr. Wilfried Yameogo, SOFITEX’s General Director, explained: "This project will help improve the fertility of the land and supplemental irrigation will assure farmers of a more stable source of water as needed."

Burkina Faso is Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest producer of cotton, and the crop is the country’s second most important export commodity in terms of revenue generation. As more than half the world’s cotton growers rely on irrigation technology that these smallholder farmers lack, this project seeks to optimize use of current resources and mitigate the negative effects climate change, and boost the farmers’ ability to compete on the international market.

"This will be revolutionary for cotton farmers who currently rely entirely on the unpredictability of rainfall, as they can now better face the extremes of seasonal droughts and flooding," stated World Bank Country Manager Mr. Cheick Fantamady Kante.

The World Bank Group looks forward to sharing the lessons to be learned from this project – GPOBA’s first in the country and sector– and to what it believes it can be a successful model for other regional agribusiness projects using blended finance from the public and private sectors.

(Press Release in French)

Related feature story: "Irrigation Systems Introduced to Small-Scale Cotton Farmers in Burkina Faso.  

Related story from our donor and partner: "Sowing Seeds of a Bright Future For Burkinabe Cotton Farmers".

Find out more about the World Bank’s work in Burkina Faso,