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Inadequate rainfall limits crop planting activities across the country

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • July 2014
Inadequate rainfall limits crop planting activities across the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Large portions of the country, particularly western and central areas, reported rainfall deficits during the month of June. As a result, agricultural activities, primarily crop planting activities, were slightly delayed compared to normal.
    • Despite food assistance efforts and stable to declining prices of broken rice, poor households in northern and central regions will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between now and September due to the negative effects of 2013/14 crop production shortfalls, poor pastoral conditions, and groundnut marketing difficulties on household food and income sources.
    • By September, the availability of freshly harvested green crops and farm labor income will improve household food access. Poor households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity during the harvest and post-harvest period (September to December).

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

     PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    Planting activities for maize and sorghum, which began in May due to early rainfall over southern Senegal, were interrupted by poor rainfall conditions during the second half of June.

    Seasonal progress is behind schedule in certain areas of the country due to interruptions in crop planting activities in June.

    The ongoing lean season started early for households in northern and central regions hard hit by below-average 2013/14 crop production and agricultural incomes due to poor rainfall conditions and groundnut marketing difficulties.    

    Food and farm input assistance from the government and its partners for 67,500 food-insecure households between July and September will ease the severity of the lean season for program recipients.

    The uncharacteristically poor condition of northern pasturelands is creating heavy concentrations of livestock in grazing areas. As a result, livestock body conditions and milk production are unusually poor.

    The start of rains in northern areas in July will help improve pastoral conditions, triggering the seasonally normal recovery in milk production and livestock body conditions.

     


    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    Cumulative rainfall totals for the period from May 1st through July 10th were below-normal in all parts of the country with the exception of the far southeast (Kédougou), where rainfall levels were normal to above-normal. The most severe rainfall deficits were observed in central and western agricultural areas, where planting activities are more than a week behind schedule according to the crop calendar. The planting of maize and groundnut crops in the south continued throughout July after being interrupted by the poor rainfall in late June. Moreover, a large percentage of cereal crops were dry-planted and may need to be replanted in the wake of the reported dry spells. Seasonal forecasts by major forecasting centers (ACMAD, ECMWF, IRI, and NMME) are calling for average to below-average cumulative rainfall totals for the rest of the season, which increases the risk of production shortfalls for cereal and cash crops. However, even with below-average precipitation, a good distribution of the rains during critical periods of crop growth and development could mitigate any impact on crop production levels.

    With regards to cash crop production, last season’s groundnut marketing difficulties are expected to reduce this year’s cropping rates, inducing farmers to scale back the amount of land planted in groundnuts in favor of planting more cereal crops instead.

    Markets are still adequately stocked with cereal crops despite a seasonal decline in total supply levels. Market supplies in the river valley have improved with the average June harvests of off-season rice. Prices for regular broken rice, the most widely consumed cereal in Senegal, are average to below-average on all regional markets. Government price fixing measures and large importer stock levels are helping to keep prices stable for this food commodity.

    The strategy of pastoralists of selling off their weakest animals as a way to cut their losses in response to the poor pastoral conditions is creating brisk business on livestock markets. The mass sales in June-July are driving down the prices of small ruminants, which in turn is negatively impacting incomes for poor pastoralists. However, starting in July, the recovery in livestock body conditions with the growth of fresh pasture and the high demand for livestock during Ramadan will drive prices back up to above-average levels, improving market access for pastoral households.

    With the exception of areas and populations of concern described below, poor households will maintain normal food access between July and December through stable food prices and average incomes from their typical sources. Thus, these households should continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

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

    The lean season for poor households in northern and central regions, which normally begins in July, has been underway since May/June. This early lean season was caused by the premature depletion of household food stocks and a drop in agricultural incomes due to 2013/14 crop production shortfalls and groundnut marketing difficulties. The combination of their dependence on market purchases one month earlier than usual and their below-average incomes is causing households to cut back their nonfood spending, as well as scale up the gathering of forest products, sales of straw and livestock, and borrowing to atypically high levels in order to meet food needs. Though food and farm input assistance programs mounted as part of the national response plan are providing assistance to roughly five percent of Senegalese households, preventing recipients from resorting to negative coping strategies, food security outcomes in these areas will still remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until September.

    Starting in September, the harvests of green crops, the expected reduction in prices for locally grown cereals, and average earnings from typical income-generating activities will bring the lean season to an end and will enable poor households to meet their food needs. The Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes in these areas will then give way to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between September and December.

    Victims of normal seasonal flooding during the rainy season

    Seasonal flooding during the rainy season (July to September) could cause heavy physical damage and crop losses for households in coastal, southern, and central areas. These flood-affected households may have difficulty rebuilding their assets and maintaining an adequate diet without external assistance.

    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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