The relentless rise in food prices in Senegal, compounded by particularly poor harvests in the 2007/2008 agricultural season, culminated in street demonstrations in the capital, Dakar, in March and April. Production of all the main staple grains was down by 24 percent in December 2007 compared with the year before, and prices in local markets were sharply higher.
Grains have come down from price increases of as much as 30 percent, but millet, sorghum and maize are still about 20 percent higher in July compared with July of last year. Imported broken rice, relatively cheap rice, remains 20 percent more expensive than July last year, despite government rice distributions worth some US$24 million, as well as the elimination of taxes and import duties.
Cooking oil, vegetables, milk, meat and fruit have all experienced heavy price increases.
FAO has completed seed distributions in seven of 11 regions of the country encompassing more than 30,000 vulnerable households. Many of the crops, including the staple grains rice, cowpea, millet, sorghum and maize, were planted immediately to take advantage of the season at hand, and harvest is expected by September. FAO is also providing quality seed and technical advice on planting garden vegetables such as eggplant, okra, hot peppers and watermelon.
In addition, fertilizers (urea) worth USD 159 500 are being provided by FAO to help increase crop yields. Overall, the FAO response through its Initiative on Soaring Food Prices is funnelling more than USD 1.2 million in emergency funding immediately to new projects in the country, managed in partnership with the Government of Senegal.