Eighty percent of Burkina Faso’s population is rural, and make a living primarily through agriculture, livestock and forestry on small family farms.
But intermittent food shortages grip the country, and are the result of increasing population, erratic rainfall, land use changes, and land tenure insecurity.
Meanwhile, intensifying competition for land and natural resources is giving rise to increasingly violent land-based conflicts, and the country’s emerging land market is likewise fraught with problems.
The country’s two land tenure systems—one based on national laws and the other on customary land practices—have often appeared at odds, and the Government of Burkina Faso has grappled with this as it has guided national development. Most recently, the Government passed the Rural Land Tenure Law (2009), developed through a broadly participatory process.