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The Korko forest

Balanites oil

227 kg of seeds Impulsion
Icone Soutenu EN


Covering 24,600 ha, the Korko forest is located in the department of Barsalogho in the Sahelian area, in the North of Burkina Faso. In this shrubby savannah area, rainfall varies from 500 to 900 mm per year.

The ecosystem consists of tall grasses, shrubs and isolated hardwood groves with occasional tall trees; a reminder of the former forest which no longer exists. Large mammals have disappeared and the only animals to be found are small mammals (fennecs, hares and jerboas), some migratory birds and numerous reptiles.

This extremely degraded area is also endangered by the continuous expansion of the desert.


Major issues

The forest is under threat of disappearance due to numerous anthropic pressures which must be tackled: uncontrolled timber logging, land clearing, extensive grazing, and dismemberment of trees in order to provide fodder for cattle. And yet, the riverside communities and their livestock depend on these resources to survive. A vicious circle of overexploitation has set in. Urgent actions, in terms of regeneration and sustainable exploitation, are therefore required.

Protected forest status has been granted following a significant work of participatory mapping, conducted by Tree Aid, a UK based NGO. However, due to the lack of safeguards in place, the distinction between areas which belong to the protected forest and the other parts of the landscape remains somewhat theoretical. Only boundary markers and signs indicate the existence of a forest.

Still, for the past two years, the largest area of the forest has been undergoing a process of development: living hedges have been planted over several kilometres, a watering point for transhumant livestock has been dug, and many other actions, including the installation of inner trails, a firewall, digging ridges, reforesting etc., have been implemented.




The project and the prospects for change

The project intends to support the production of balanites oil in the Korko area, with the participation of the local community. There are 3 components to this project:

  1. To protect and sustainably manage the natural resources, whilst contributing to a better management of the forest by: monitoring the development of vegetation cover, reforestation and regeneration; establishing guidelines for good governance etc. 
  2. To improve the processing unit by: installing facilities for fruit drying, improving the oil extraction process, oil storage, packaging material procurement, finished product analysis, printing of product data sheets, and support for biological certification of products.
  3. To organize the upstream and downstream supply chain: logistic backup for collection (local wholesalers), governance of the processing unit, valuation of residues (cattle feed, fuel briquettes etc.), national and international marketing, conformity to export procedures.

The objective is to ensure sustainable exploitation of the resources whilst also complying with forest management requirements, to produce a certified organic oil at reasonable cost, to put the finished products on the market rapidly, and to succeed in a just and fair distribution of the profits among the stakeholders, all along the value chain.


Committed partners


Impulsion is a local organisation whose mission is to improve socio-economic conditions for communities. It is involved in environmental protection, income generating activities in rural areas, and community access to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.

ULB-Cooperation supported the organisation to set up a processing unit for non-timber forest products. 

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To learn more about this project and its 2017 key achievements, please click on this link.


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