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Limited harvest stocks adversely affect the food security situation

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • January 2015
Limited harvest stocks adversely affect the food security situation

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The 37 percent shortfall in cereal production compared to average is limiting the availability of local cereal crops, particularly in northern and western areas and the groundnut basin. The 51 percent below-average harvest of groundnuts, the country’s main cash crop, and resulting reduction in farm income are weakening household purchasing power.

    • The early depletion of food stocks by March instead of June, is prolonging the market dependence of poor households more than usual and making it difficult for them to meet their food needs. Even with great than normal levels of borrowing and cutbacks in non-food spending, affected households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity between March and April and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) beginning later in May.

    • The pasture deficit in the northern and central reaches of the country will negatively affect animal production and, by extension, the purchasing power of pastoral households. Livestock will be at a high risk of mortality beginning in April, which will hurt the livelihoods of pastoral and agropastoral households.

    Zone

    Current Anomalies

    Projected Anomalies

    National

    • Harvests of cereals and groundnuts, the country’s main cash crop, are 37 and 51 percent below-average, respectively.

    • The shortfall in crop production will contribute to the early depletion of food stocks and sharply reduce farm income, negatively affecting the purchasing power of farming households and heightening their vulnerability to food insecurity.

    • The reported pasture deficit in northern and central livestock-raising areas is threatening animal production.
    • The premature deterioration in the condition of pastures in the northern part of the country is undermining the physical condition of livestock and animal production, reducing the incomes of pastoral households.

    Southern areas of the country

    • Trading on a number of weekly markets has been disrupted by the closure of the country’s border with Guinea as a result of the outbreak of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.
    • The official re-opening of the border is helping to jump-start business and trade, which should improve the livelihoods of affected households, though they will continue to feel the effects of the border closure for some time.

    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    According to the Agricultural Statistics, Forecasting and Analysis Office (Direction d'analyse, de la prévision et des statistiques agricoles), yields of cereal and groundnut crops are 37 and 51 percent below-average, respectively, reducing the availability of local cereal crops and the farm incomes of agropastoral households. The growing season for off-season market garden and rice crops in the Senegal River Valley currently underway is a ray of hope for easing the effects of the production shortfall from the main growing season. However, the low supply of water in certain reservoirs could limit yields of market garden crops, producing overall average harvests between January and April. Expected rice harvests in May-June will improve the availability of this staple in northern areas of the country.

    As usual, current supplies of crops, though limited, are reducing the market dependence of poor households for the time being. Thus, most households are currently experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. However, poor crop production will limit the number of months of coverage of household consumption needs by current food stocks, which will be depleted earlier than usual, heightening household vulnerability to food insecurity. The resulting early start of the lean season in March/April will prevent poor households in the Thiès, Louga, Matam, and northern Tambacounda regions from adequately meeting their food needs as of March. Thus, these households will be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes.

    There are average market supplies of locally-grown cereal crops and large supplies of imported rice from large trader inventories. Prices for millet and sorghum are unchanged or down from last month and slightly above-average by approximately four percent. Prices for imported rice, the main foodstuff consumed by Senegalese households, are also unchanged from last month and approximately seven percent below-average. Seasonal rises in the prices of locally grown cereal crops between February and June will be steeper than usual due to poor crop yields. The price of groundnuts has been set by the government at 200 CFAF/kg, which is approximately 12 percent above-average. However, the delay in setting up the groundnut marketing fund is forcing farmers in urgent need of cash to sell their crops on local markets at lower prices.

    Business on livestock markets is steadily picking up and will become increasingly brisk, particularly in northern areas of the country where pastoralists will be selling more animals to limit the effect of the pasture deficit on their herds. Livestock prices, which are currently six percent above-average, will begin to come down with the expected earlier than usual start of the lean season in March. The decline in the market value of livestock and in animal production will reduce the incomes of pastoral households, curtailing their market access.

    Normal sources of household income, including current above-average rates of labor migration, farm and non-farm labor, the gathering and sale of forest products, and small trades, will produce average earnings. The average levels of income-generation from these sources will curtail the market access of poor households for a longer than usual period. The disruption in travel and in the movement of goods as a result of the closure of the border has reduced the incomes and weakened the livelihoods of poor households in border areas. The re-opening of the border on January 25, 2015 is a chance to jump-start business and trade, easing conditions for residents of border areas.

    The premature depletion of on-farm food stocks in March, particularly in the Thiès, Louga, Matam, and northern Tambacounda regions, will quickly heighten demand for locally-grown cereal crops. The resulting rise in the prices of these food crops (millet and maize), together with the decline in wage income with the limited job prospects for farm labor and in proceeds from crop sales, will curtail the regular market access of poor households. Struggling poor households will ramp up their borrowing, the gathering and sale of forest products, and sales of household assets more than usual and dramatically cut back their nonfood spending in order to meet their food needs. Thus, these poor households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes as of March 2015. The deterioration in food consumption in May as conditions steadily worsen during this year’s earlier than expected lean season and with the usual rise in cereal prices will make it impossible for them to cover their food costs and, at the same time, meet their financial needs for the new growing season. At that time, they will resort to coping strategies such as cutting the number and size of their meals, selling productive assets, and/or culling their herds (in the case of pastoral households), which will only heighten their vulnerability to food insecurity. As such, in the absence of assistance, these households will be facing a food security Crisis (IPC Phase 3) by the beginning of May.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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