UN humanitarian chief Baroness Amos has called for a rapid response to the food crisis in Burkina Faso.
She was speaking after she visited a refugee camp in the west African country.
The UN estimates that 2.8 million people are facing food insecurity after consecutively bad harvests were caused by alternating floods and droughts.
"The drought and rising food prices have taken their toll," said Baroness Amos.
"Many families have had to sell their livestock to cover their household food needs or they are eating the seeds that they should plant for the next season."
NGOs have also called for attention to be paid to the "forgotten crisis" in the country.
The charity Plan International said that growing numbers of refugees in the country are an additional challenge facing aid agencies working to overcome the food crisis.
A spokeswoman said that more than 60,000 refugees have fled violence in northern Mali into neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Baroness Amos said: "It's not about one [crisis] or the other being a priority. Obviously, you had a food insecurity situation here in Burkina Faso before you had substantial numbers of refugees.
"That's why, for us, it's so important that we're helping the local community, as well as supporting the refugee population."
Dr Unni Krishnan, head of disaster response and preparedness at Plan International, added: "Children are more vulnerable in such situations and thus their needs are our top-most priority."