Hunger in the news

10 August 2009

Continued high food prices and growing unemployment justify expanding food voucher distributions in Burkina Faso, according to a mid-year evaluation by the World Food Programme (WFP) of its largest voucher programme in Africa.

9 April 2009

The World Food Program says its food voucher program in Burkina Faso has been expanded and now reaches 180,000 people in the country's two biggest cities. The WFP says the project improves peoples' access to food, while helping to boost the local economy. [..] WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella tells VOA food is usually available in urban markets. But, many poor people cannot afford to buy it. She says distributing vouchers, instead of food, can be a more effective way of alleviating hunger in urban areas without destabilizing the market. "In essence, we are supporting the market because the vouchers permit the people who receive those vouchers to go to vendors and sellers who have been approved to participate in the program and exchange the voucher for food,"Casella said.

3 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.”

27 March 2009

Rising prices in Burkina Faso have put some staple foods beyond the reach of the urban poor. So the World Food Program has launched its first ever emergency food voucher program in Africa to help make up the difference.

17 February 2009

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it launched its first food voucher operation in Africa, deploying a new tool to address hunger in an urban environment where food is available, but beyond the reach of many because of high prices.

17 February 2009

The United Nations is giving food vouchers to poor families in Burkina Faso who have access to private sector markets, but can not afford higher food prices there. The innovative program is alsp helping local shopkeepers This is the first time the World Food Program is working through food vouchers in Africa. It is targeting more than 120,000 people in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, who have access to staples such as millet and sorghum, but can not afford them because their price is up more than 25 percent from last year. "We have markets in urban areas that are functioning properly. You have food in the markets, but it is still unaffordable for the poorest," says WFP West Africa spokeswoman Stephanie Savariaud.

16 February 2009

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has launched its first food voucher operation in Africa, deploying a new tool to address hunger in an urban environment where food is available, but beyond the reach of many because of high prices. In a statement received here Monday, the UN agency said the new voucher program is targeting 120,000 people who are suffering from the impact of high food prices in urban areas of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where the prices of basic staples such as millet and sorghum are more than 25 percent higher than they were last year. "Sometimes it makes more sense to give people vouchers than bags of food," said Annalisa Conte, WFP Country Director in Burkina Faso. "This is an innovative solution to hunger needs among people who live in a city where shops and market stalls may be full of produce, but prices are still too high for the poor and the vulnerable."

13 February 2009

Hundreds of women queued up to receive food vouchers in Burkina Faso on Friday under a scheme the U.N. World Food Programme says is a first in Africa and it will boost business for local markets. The scheme launched in the capital Ouagadougou, where there is no shortage of food in the shops but price rises of 25 percent or more in the past year have put some staples out of the reach of the poorest people. [...] "We needed to find a way to help those who needed to eat and at the same time boost business for small shopkeepers," said Annalisa Conte, WFP resident director in the landlocked country, which remains deeply poor despite a vibrant agricultural sector. Shopkeeper Alfred Vebamba said trade was brisk.