Reference Date: 06-May-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production estimated to have dropped significantly in 2014 due to insufficient rains
About 640 000 people estimated to be in need of assistance
Below-average cereal harvest gathered in 2014
There is little agricultural activity in Senegal in this period, except for limited cultivation of some off-season crops. Planting of the 2015 cereal crops are expected to begin with the start of the rainy season in June.
Harvesting of millet and maize, the major grains produced in the country, was completed in November, while the rice harvest was concluded in late December. Growing conditions for cereal crops and pastures have been poor in most parts of the country due to irregular rains at the beginning of the cropping season in May/June, which delayed plantings, and subsequent erratic precipitation in July and August. The aggregate 2014 cereal production was estimated at about some 1 251 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year’s harvest, but a 16 percent drop relative to the five-year average. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, is estimated to have dropped by 38 percent compared to the five-year average, while production of groundnut, the main cash crop, declined by 21 percent. Moreover, the erratic rains caused the depletion of grazing resources and lowered water points’ level in the major pastoral areas of the country.
High import dependency persists
Senegal relies heavily on cereal imports (mostly rice) to meet its food requirements. Domestic rice production covers only about half of the country’s cereal utilization. Senegal imports an average of about 1 million tonnes of rice per annum. Cereal imports in the 2014/15 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at some 1.6 million tonnes, including. 1.1 million tonnes of rice.
In spite of last year’s reduced harvests, average national millet prices have remained below the levels of one year earlier, mainly because of the above-average crop gathered in neighbouring Mali.
Continued assistance is needed for vulnerable people
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.
Last year’s poor harvests have exacerbated the already fragile food situation. According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis conducted in the country, about 640 000 people are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above during March-May 2015.