Reference Date: 09-March-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production estimated to have dropped 38 percent in 2014 due to insufficient rains
About 927 000 people estimated to be in need of assistance
Sharp decline in 2014 cereal production due to rainfall deficits
There is little agricultural activity 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 from April.
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. A joint CILSS/FAO/WFP Crop Assessment Mission, which visited the country last November, estimated the cereal harvest in 2014 at some 925 000 tonnes, representing a decline of 27 percent compared to last year’s favourable harvest, and a 38 percent drop relative to the five-year average. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, is estimated to have dropped by 30 percent compared to 2013, while production of groundnut, the main cash crop, declined by 38 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) from the international market to meet its food requirements. Domestic rice production covers only about half of the country’s cereal utilization requirements; therefore, its rice imports amount to an average of about 1 million tonnes per annum. Cereal imports in the 2014/15 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at some 1.7 million tonnes. Rice imports would account for about 1.1 million tonnes.
In spite of last year’s reduced harvests, average national millet prices were 4 percent lower compared to the levels one year earlier, mainly on account 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, keeping poor households in cycles of indebtedness and poverty.
Last year’s poor harvests have exacerbated the already fragile food situation. According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis in the country conducted in November 2014, about 927 000 people are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above during January-March 2015.