It is widely believed that limited access of small scale farmers to agricultural credit is one of the key causes of rural poverty and a major constraint to adoption of innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since the early 1960s, many strategies to access agricultural credits have been implemented with success. This study assessed the effects of warrantage, a community-based micro credit system, on poor small resource farmers’ income and livelihoods of the semi-arid area of Burkina Faso. Two broad socio economic surveys were conducted among 1040 farmers and 440 household heads. Data were collected from 58 inventory credit warehouses and 36 input shops established in the study areas. The results showed that the warrantage system is dominated by women farmers (who produce 60% of the stored harvests) and appears as the main source of agricultural credit. The profit (up to 140%) provided allows farmers to purchase external inputs such as inorganic fertilizers. This resulted in higher crop productivity and a substantial increase of farmers’ income which in turn improve farmers’ livelihood.
Key words: Inventory credit system, mineral fertilizer, staple crop production, small farmers.