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Stressed food security outcomes expected during pastoral and agricultural lean seasons

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • April 2014
Stressed food security outcomes expected during pastoral and agricultural lean seasons

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Due to rainfall deficits, 2013/14 cereal production was 20 percent below average, with the largest production shortfalls observed in the groundnut basin (Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, and Bakel department), Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou.
    • Until recent financial assistance was provided to the sector by the government, unusually weak industrial demand had been depressing groundnut prices, causing producers to resort to selling atypically large quantities of cereal crops, such as sorghum, maize, and rice. As a result, household food stocks are depleting earlier than normal this year in April, compared to May/June in a normal year.
    • Due to below-average cereal production, cash crop sales, food stock levels, and livestock body conditions, household food access in the north, the groundnut basin, and Casamance will be worse than usual through the end of the lean season in August. This will result in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes in affected areas between April and September.

    Zone

    Current Anomalies

     Projected Anomalies

    National

    Households are selling above-average levels of cereal crops in response to problems they faced marketing their groundnut production. This, along with below-average cereal production, has caused an earlier than usual depletion of household food stocks.

    The agricultural lean season will be longer and more difficult than usual, causing households to scale up their coping strategies to atypical levels to meet food needs.

    National

    No current anomalies are noted relating to agroclimatology.

    Major forecasting centers (IRI, ECMWF) are showing an increased probability of below-average to average cumulative rainfall totals during the June to September rainy season. This could cause a reduction in 2014/15 cereal production levels.

    Northern areas

    The pastoral lean season began early, in February instead of March, due to the sharper than usual deterioration in the availability of forage and water.

    The normal onset of the rainy season in June will end the pastoral lean season. No anomalies relating to pastoral conditions are projected.

     


    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    Harvests of market garden crops in general and shallots in particular are continuing, with this year’s production volumes expected to be approximately 45 percent above average. Off-season rice crops in the Senegal River Valley and in the south are also progressing well, with an average harvest expected in May/June. These off-season agricultural activities are improving household food availability and incomes (from crop sales and labor) in production areas. Planting activities for the next main agricultural season are expected to start on-time in June due to the normal onset of the rainy season. However, major forecasting centers (IRI, ECMWF) are showing an increased probability of below-average to average cumulative rainfall totals during the June to September rainy season, which could reduce 2014/15 cereal production levels.

    Due to rainfall deficits, cereal production in 2013/14 was 20 percent below the five-average, with the largest production shortfalls observed in the groundnut basin (Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, and Bakel department), Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou. Similarly, production of groundnuts, a key cash crop in Senegal, was down 21 percent compared to the five-year average.

    Despite these production shortfalls, cereal market are well-supplied, particularly in groundnut-producing areas, due to marketing problems for this cash crop. More specifically, weak industrial demand (primarily due to low demand from China) caused this year’s producer prices for unshelled groundnuts to be well below last year’s levels (Figure 1). While government support programs in March have recently increased industrial demand and brought an improvement in prices compared to previous months, groundnut marketing problems have still resulted in the excessive sales of local cereals (sorghum, maize, and millet) by producers in order to meet nonfood needs. These sales, along with below-average 2013/14 cereal production, are causing households to deplete their food stocks earlier than normal this year. As a result, households face an earlier than usual lean season, beginning in April/May this year instead of June/July as in a normal year.

    March prices for key cereals (millet, imported rice, and maize) remained relatively stable compared to the previous month. However, due to below-average production within the country, millet prices in Kaolak and Dakar were still 15 percent and 20 percent above the five-year average. For regular imported rice, a key staple commodity for Senegalese households, prices were 13 to 21 percent below the five-year average in Saint-Louis, Kaolack, and Dakar, due to price fixing policies by the government and relatively stable to declining prices on international markets. However, an exception is the market in Ziguichor, where regular imported rice prices remain 14 percent above the average, due to increased costs transporting rice around The Gambia.

    The premature depletion of pasture resources in northern areas with biomass production deficits has triggered unusual herd movements southwards and into Mali in search of suitable grazing lands. In these pasture deficit areas, the market value of livestock during the peak of the pastoral lean season (April to June) will be atypically low, adversely affecting the purchasing power of pastoral households. However, as the onset of the rainy season improves forage and water availability starting in June, livestock body conditions and milk availability will begin to improve, increasing food access for these households. In addition, strong livestock demand during Ramadan (July) will likely drive prices to slightly above-average levels during this time period, improving purchasing power.

    Households in northern agricultural and central groundnut-producing areas have lower than usual food stocks due to below-average crop production and unusually large cereal sales. This in turn is heightening their market dependence compared to a normal year. Between April and the next harvests begin in September, most poor agropastoral households in Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel department, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou will scale up coping strategies, such as cutting nonfood expenditures, gathering and selling forest products, selling straw, and increasing borrowing to atypically high levels, in order to meet their basic needs. Consequently, these households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Shelled producer groundnut prices compared to the previous year and the five-year average, Kaolack (XOF/kg)

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Shelled producer groundnut prices compared to the previous year and the five-year average, Kaolack (XOF/kg)

    Source: SIM/CSA

    Figure 3

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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