Reference Date: 07-February-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Estimates point to a significant decline in cereal production in 2013
Coarse grain prices have remained at relatively high levels
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed
2013 coarse grains production severely reduced by irregular rains
Harvesting of the 2013 cereal crops was completed in December. Dry spells, floods and poor rainfall distribution during the growing period (July to October) resulted in a sharp decline in cereal production. A joint CILSS/FAO/FEWSNet/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission that visited the country in October 2013 estimated 2013 aggregate cereals production at some 1.3 million tonnes (including off-season crop harvest forecasts), about 12 percent lower than the 2012 output and 17 percent below the average of the previous five years. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, dropped by 14 percent compared to 2012. The most affected regions include Louga, Matam, Podor, Diourbel, Kaffrine and Fatick.
Pastures were also affected in these areas.
In 2012, an average harvest was gathered owing to overall favourable climatic conditions. Aggregate 2012 cereal production was estimated at about 1.5 million tonnes, about 36 percent up on 2011 drought-affected harvest, but similar to the five-year average.
High coarse grains prices persist
Reflecting the average crop gathered in 2012 (following the 2011 poor harvest), coarse grains prices have remained relatively higher last year.
Although the new cereal harvests led to slight decrease in prices in late 2013, milllet prices in Dakar in November 2013 were still 5 percent higher than the 2011/12 crisis affected levels. Millet prices in saint Louis were 25 percent higher. By contrast, prices of imported rice have remained relatively stable. Rice prices increased steeply in the country from December 2011, but Government intervention in the form of price control has kept prices stable since April 2012.
Senegal still relies heavily on rice imports from the international market to meet its food requirements. Domestic production covers only about half of the country’s cereal utilization requirements, so its rice imports amount to an average of about 900 000 tonnes per annum.
Food and agricultural assistance needed as the food security situation remains precarious
A large segment of the Senegalese population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock related activities to maintain their livelihoods, and is in a state of chronic vulnerability due to unpredictable seasonal rains and climatic conditions. Moreover, the high import dependency rate for food exposes the population to fluctuations of the global market, keeping poor households in cycles of indebtedness and poverty. About 2.2 million people are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity this year, as a result of the lingering effects of previous crises and the impact of last year’s erratic rains on crops and pastures in some regions.
The United Nations and humanitarian partners recently launched a three-year Regional Strategic Response Plan (RSRP) to provide aid to millions of people in nine countries of the Sahel belt. The country plan for Senegal is seeking to mobilise 122 million dollars to provide food and non-food assitance to over 2.6 million people accross the country.