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Stressed levels of food insecurity continue in central and northern regions

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • August 2014
Stressed levels of food insecurity continue in central and northern regions

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Rainfall deficits continue to disrupt the normal progress of the growing season across the country, particularly in agricultural areas of central and northern Senegal. The failure and subsequent replanting of cereal crops has delayed crop development and will result in reduced agricultural production for 2014/15.

    • The government is currently subsidizing the use of short-cycle and drought-resistant crops (cowpeas, cassava, and sesame) in order to limit the negative effects of below-average rainfall on the 2015 food security year. There is also an ongoing subsidy program for animal feed to mitigate livestock feeding difficulties across the country.  

    • The later than normal availability of freshly harvested green crops in early September, rather than August, will prolong the lean season for agricultural households. However, with upcoming harvests and income from farm labor, households will have adequate food access between October and December. Thus, poor households will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity during this period.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    Rainfall deficits in central and northern Senegal are hindering the normal progress of cropping activities and requiring the replanting of crops.

    The average levels of rainfall expected in August will facilitate ongoing crop planting activities, though a delay in the cropping calendar will remain.

    The lean season will be more difficult than usual, with the late harvest of lean season crops that will put an end to the lean season in September, rather than in mid-August as is typically the case.

    The main harvest between October and November is expected to be below-average due to the negative effects of rainfall deficits on crop production.

    Food and agricultural input assistance provided by the government and its partners to 67,500 households is easing the severity of the lean season beneficiaries.

     

    Unusual herd movement across the country due to the late replenishment of pastures and watering holes has been observed. The physical condition of animals and milk production levels remain poorer than usual.

    Livestock herds will return to their typical grazing areas before the end of the month, a month late, on account of the improvement in pastoral conditions with the August rains. There will be below-average levels of animal production.


    Projected outlook through December 2014

    Cumulative rainfall for the May 1-August 10 period was below average to well below-average in all parts of the country, except in the southeast (Kédougou and southern Tambacounda), where rainfall totals are average to above average. As a result of below-average rainfall, planting activities for cereals and pulses are still underway and seedling growth and development is delayed 2-4 weeks compared to the normal seasonal calendar. This will delay the availability of lean season foods, such as cowpeas, corn on the cob, and peanuts, which are normally available by mid-August. To limit the negative impact of low rainfall on food security, the Senegalese government is promoting the use of short-cycle crops by subsidizing the price of seeds by up to 80 percent for cowpeas (4,000 MT), 75 percent for sorghum (700 MT), 100 percent for cassava (20 million cuttings), and 90 percent for sesame (15 MT). However, in spite of these programs and the reported dry-planting activities in July, crop production is still generally below last year’s levels. Though weather forecasts are predicting average rainfall for the months of August and September, they will not offset the cumulative rainfall deficit observed since the beginning of the season.

    Pastoral conditions are recovering but are still well below-average as a result of the rainfall deficit. Animals are in poor physical condition and there are unusual herd movements due to livestock grazing and watering difficulties. In addition, there are below-normal levels of milk production, which is a source of income for pastoral households to maintain their market access. Ongoing government assistance programs supplying pastoralists with animal feed are partially mitigating livestock feeding difficulties for poor pastoralists.

    Coarse grain prices (millet, sorghum, maize, and ordinary broken rice) for July were relatively close to the five-year (2008 – 2013) average (+/- six percent), maintaining household food access. As of the end of July, prices for livestock, which had come down between May and the beginning of July due to the poor physical condition of animals, were up from the previous month by approximately 15 percent for goats and had stabilized in the case of cattle and sheep, which are still struggling to recover. The incomes of pastoral households are expected to improve, particularly proceeds from small animals, for which the large demand for the upcoming celebration of Tabaski in October will drive prices back above average levels.

    Though a below-average harvest for 2014/15 could have negative effects on food security in 2015, the impact of these poor harvests will not yet be felt by poor households during this year’s lean season or immediate post-harvest period. Average incomes from their usual activities, stable food prices, and, upcoming October-November harvests (even though they are expected to be poor) should enable poor households to maintain average food access between July and December. The sole exceptions are the areas and populations of concern discussed below. All other households will, thus, continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou

    The delay in the availability of lean season foods (pulses and maize) will prolong the lean season for poor farming households in the northern and central reaches of the country, which began unusually early in May-June instead of June. These foods normally ease food access by the end of August rather than the second half of September, as will be the case this year on account of the rainfall deficit. Their market dependence a full month earlier than usual and below-average incomes are causing local households to reduce their non-food spending, increase the gathering and sale of forest products, increase their sales of straw and livestock, and borrow more than usual in order to meet their food needs. Acute food security conditions in these areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through the end of September in spite of the food and farm input assistance programs for five percent of Senegalese households as part of the national response plan. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through August 10, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through August 10, 2014

    Source: USGS

    Figure 2. Vegetation (NDVI) anomalies as of August 10, 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Vegetation (NDVI) anomalies as of August 10, 2014

    Source: USGS

    Figure 2

    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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