Reference Date: 05-August-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Early crop prospects are uncertain due to insufficient and irregular rains
Cereal prices remain mostly stable
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed
Late and inadequate seasonal rains affect prospects for current crops
Erratic and insufficient rainfall since the beginning of the rainy season in May/June over most parts of the country have delayed plantings and affected growing crops. Satellite imagery analysis indicates low Vegetation Health Index in much of Senegal’s groundnut basin and in the northern and Casamance agro-ecological zones. Due to the earlier drier conditions, adequate rainfall in August will be critical for regeneration and development of crops.
Last year’s aggregate cereal production was also well below average, estimated at some 1.3 million tonnes (about 15 percent and 20 percent lower than in 2012 and the average of the previous five years). Production of millet, the most important staple crop, dropped by 22 percent compared to 2012.
Cereal prices remain stable
In spite of the reduced crop gathered in 2013, coarse grains prices have been mostly stable since January 2014. Adequate availability at regional level contributes to price stability in Senegal. Similarly, prices of imported rice, one of the most widely consumed cereals in the country, have remained relatively unchanged over the last two years. 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, therefore, remain 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.
According to the last Cadre Harmonisé analysis conducted in the country, about 738 750 people are estimated to be in Phase 3 (Crisis) and above during the lean season from June-August, 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. An additional 2.9 million people are estimated to be in Phase 2 that is at risk of food insecurity.
The United Nations and humanitarian partners launched a three-year Regional Strategic Response Plan (RSRP) earlier this year to provide aid to millions of people in nine countries of the Sahel belt. The country plan for Senegal is seeking to mobilize USD 122 to provide food and non-food assitance to over 2.6 million people accross the country.