Burkina Faso: WFP expands voucher distribution

Published on 03 April 2009

Families in Burkina Faso’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, have begun receiving US$3 vouchers that can be cashed in for maize, cooking oil, salt, sugar and soap. The distribution is the second half of a World Food Programme (WFP) urban hunger-alleviation experiment launched on 13 February in the capital, Ouagadougou, to help people cope with high food prices. [...] While WFP and its partners are looking at using food vouchers in other countries, Burkina Faso’s WFP director, Annalissa Conte, told IRIN the approach cannot work just anywhere. “Urban settings are more suitable [given] the good banking system, and it needs to suit the needs of people without destabilising local production.” [...] Shopkeeper Mouniya told IRIN the most common complaint he gets from customers is that rice is not included in the programme. “They want to be able to exchange their vouchers for rice. It is not easy to eat the same thing every day.” [...] But WFP’s Conte told IRIN that maize can better cover the population’s “consumption needs” than rice. “We knew that we might have some beneficiaries asking for rice in shops when vouchers allow for maize and not for rice, which is imported and more expensive than maize.”

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