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Country Briefs

  Senegal

Reference Date: 06-October-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Crop prospects remain uncertain due to rainfall deficits in parts of the country

  2. Improved food security situation anticipated in marketing year 2015/16 (November/October)

Precipitation improved from July in most parts of the country but overall crop prospects remain uncertain

The 2016 coarse grains harvest has started. Harvesting of rice is expected to begin in November. Following irregular and insufficient rains in most parts of the country at the beginning of the cropping season, precipitation increased significantly from July, thus reconstituting soil water reserves and improving crop prospects. However, as plantings were delayed and replanting carried out in several regions, crops and pastures will need rains to continue until mid-October to cover their entire growing cycle. The Government has continued to support the agricultural sector through the provision of seeds and fertilizers. An above-average 2016 crop is expected, according to preliminary estimates by the National Agricultural Statistics Services.

In 2015, favourable weather conditions and enhanced Government support to the agricultural sector contributed to a significant increase in cereal production. Official estimates put the 2015 output at about 2.15 million tonnes, 72 percent above the previous year’s level and 56 percent above average. Production of millet, the most important staple crop, increased by 83 percent, while production of groundnuts, increased by 68 percent compared to the 2014 output. The good precipitation levels also improved pasture conditions throughout the country.

A reduced crop was gathered in 2014 due to irregular rains throughout the cropping season. The aggregate 2014 cereal production was estimated at about 1.2 million tonnes, similar to the previous year’s harvest, but a 9 percent drop relative to the five‑year average. Moreover, the erratic rains caused the depletion of grazing resources and lowered water points’ level in the major pastoral areas of the country.

Cereal prices are generally stable

Despite the good crop gathered last year, prices of coarse grains have remained similar to their year‑earlier levels. Millet prices in August 2016 were nearly at the same levels as last year. Similarly, local and imported rice prices were about last year’s levels. Domestic production covers a little over half of the country’s cereal utilization requirements. Therefore, Senegal continues to rely heavily on rice imports from the international market to meet its food requirements.

Food security situation is mostly stable reflecting bumper harvest gathered in 2015

A large segment of the Senegalese population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock related activities to maintain their livelihoods, and therefore, remains 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 in the global market.

The bumper harvest gathered in 2015 has significantly improved the fragile food security situation. According to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis conducted in the country, about 220 461 people were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above.