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Poor rainfall limits cropping rates across the country

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • July 2013
Poor rainfall limits cropping rates across the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through October 2013
  • Key Messages
    • With the slow start of the rains in the northern part of the country, crop planting activities did not get fully underway until the second week of July. However, continuous regular rainfall should minimize further reductions in cropping rates (for cereal and pulses) within a small to moderate range. The likelihood of the continuing regular rainfall between now and October is supported by current weather forecasts.

    • The stability or decrease in prices for broken rice since last month ensures good household access to this staple through October. Government price controls for staple foods have helped stabilize if not decrease prices for this commodity. 

    • Even with the prospect of lower cereal yields, general deterioration in food security is not expected. Price controls for food commodities, the normal performance of income-generating activities, increasing livestock prices, a diversified food supply, and near-average levels of crop production will enable households to meet their food needs, keeping food insecurity at Minimal levels (IPC Phase 1) between now and December. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

     PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    The growing season is getting off to a late start, particularly in the central and northern reaches of the country (Thiès, Mbour, Ranérou, and Saint Louis) and is several weeks behind schedule in the southwest due to the poor rainfall marking the start-of-season. Despite this delay, farming activities in the south are progressing normally.

    The high cost of peanut seeds due to the removal of government subsidies, and the poor quality of noncertified seeds have resulted in more limited deliveries of farm inputs for peanut crops as of the end of June, particularly supplies of seeds (67 percent) and fertilizer (six percent).  

    Planting delays could limit cropping rates for millet/sorghum, maize, and pulses, particularly in the central and northern reaches of the country. Expected heavy downpours in August will interfere with the crop growth, especially peanuts, and likely lower output by reducing crop yields, in the case of cereal crops.

    Limited deliveries of farm inputs could reduce cropping rates for peanuts. The resulting production shortfall will mean less income for farmers from the sale of these crops, but should not affect the food security situation between now and December.


    Projected Outlook through October 2013

    Weather forecasts are predicting normal to above-average rainfall in all parts of the country. However, rainfall conditions in the last weeks of July were marked by normal to below-normal levels and poor distribution throughout the country.  There has been some pick-up in rainfall activity since late July, particularly in the south, where rainfall totals range from normal to below-normal. This shortage of rain is responsible for the lag in the planting of cereal and peanut crops in central and northern crop-producing areas, which could limit the size of the cropped area and potentially translate into lower than normal yields of millet and peanuts in October. Planting activities are underway and gaining momentum all across the country, but are two to three weeks behind schedule in high-production areas, particularly in central and northern agropastoral areas. Intensified rainfall during the past month should speed up crop planting activities in these areas, including dry planting activities. Subsequent decreases in cropping rates for millet/sorghum and pulses in these central and northern farming areas, which account for more than half of nationwide crop production, could result in a downward adjustment in production forecasts, particularly for millet/sorghum and peanuts.

    The normal depletion of on-farm stocks at this stage of the lean season in agricultural areas is responsible for the seasonal decline in market supplies of coarse cereals in particular (millet, sorghum, and maize). Available supplies of fresh off-season rice crops in the Senegal River Valley are improving household food availability. There are still sufficient cereal supplies to meet consumer demand on markets across the country.

    Seasonal prices for locally grown cereal are slowly but steadily rising with the normal tightening of cereal supplies, particularly in the Fatick, Kolda, Kafrine, Saint Louis, and Thiès areas, where local inventories are low. The one to 11 percent increase in millet prices since May is a result of the combined effects of high demand for the observance of Ramadan and low supplies at this early stage of the lean season. In general, prices are down from last year, except in Dakar, Djourbel, Thiès, Zinguechor, and Fatick, where the high demand on these retail markets and reduced supplies as a result of this year’s large earnings from the marketing of peanut crops have driven prices up by two to 17 percent. Current price levels are above the five-year average by approximately 13 to 20 percent. Prices for local cereal crops will stay high until the upcoming October harvests.

    Average to large trader inventories of imported rice are ensuring good market supplies. In general, prices for imported broken rice, which is consumed by most households, are down by two to 15 percent from May, except in Tamba where they are up by 15 percent. The price controls instituted by the government in May of this year are keeping prices below-average. Business on livestock markets is relatively slow at this time of year with the normal herd movements back to rainy season pasturelands. The improvement in the physical condition of livestock with the growth of fresh pasture and high demand for the observance of Ramadan are sustaining the upward movement in livestock prices, particularly after an average 2012 growing season.

    This year’s average levels of household income in the wake of the good 2012-13 harvest and with the good prices for livestock and peanuts in peanut-farming areas are helping to promote fairly good food access, even during the current lean season. An average flow of income from their usual income-generating activities unaffected by any obvious anomalies is giving households average food access. With the normalization of rainfall conditions, the expansion of farming activities will provide poor households with a source of food and income between July and September. Favorable terms of trade for livestock/cereal are helping to improve the market access of pastoral households. The availability of famine foods and wild plant products in September will help temper the effects of the lean season on poor households, which should end by September with the first harvests of early cereal crops. The output from upcoming harvests, which are still expected to be average in spite of the negative effects of the erratic pattern of rainfall, should suffice to meet household needs between October and December. The normal performance of income-generating activities, the absence of any major market anomalies, and the expected average levels of crop production based on current harvest forecasts should keep acute food insecurity at Minimal levels (IPC Phase 1). 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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