Reference Date: 13-November-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Preliminary forecast for 2014 harvest points to a large decline in cereal production
Coarse grains prices at high levels
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed
Sharp decline forecast in 2014 cereal production due to rainfall deficits
Harvesting of the 2014 cereal crops is underway across the country. 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. As a result, a below-average cereal harvest is forecast in 2014, for the second consecutive year. Production of groundnut, the main cash crop, is also anticipated to decline significantly. Moreover, the erratic rains caused the depletion of grazing resources and lowered water points’ level in the major pastoral areas of the country.
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.
Coarse grains prices on the increase
Reflecting last year’s reduced crop, millet prices have been following an upward trend since last June. By contrast, 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 controls 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, therefore, its rice imports amount to an average of about 900 000 tonnes per annum.
Food and agricultural assistance needed as 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 in the country conducted in March 2014, about 738 750 people were estimated to be in Phase 3 (Crisis) and above during the lean season from June-August, as a result of the lingering effects of the previous crises and the impact of last year’s erratic rains on crops and pastures in some regions. A new Cadre Harmonisé exercise in underway in the region and the results will be released soon.
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.