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Food insecure households targeted by the government’s ongoing food distribution program

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • June 2014
Food insecure households targeted by the government’s ongoing food distribution program

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Government food assistance will mitigate the severity of the early lean season for poor households experiencing food shortages. However, even with this assistance, households in the groundnut basin (Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, and Bakel department), Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes from June through September.
    • The start of the growing season was marked by a more or less early onset of the rains in the country's southern agricultural areas and higher levels of government assistance in the form of agricultural inputs and tools compared to previous years. This assistance is helping poor households maintain their production capacity and is providing them with opportunities to generate average levels of food and income.
    • However, despite the early onset of the rains and government input programs, groundnut production for the 2014/15 growing season will likely be lower than last year’s levels due to problems marketing last season's crops. This will adversely affect household incomes in the groundnut basin during the 2014/15 consumption year.


    Current Anomalies

     Projected Anomalies


    • Reduced incomes due to groundnut marketing problems and below-average crop production (roughly 20 percent below average for both cereals and groundnuts). This has led to an early start to the lean season for farmers in the groundnut basin and in some northern and southern parts of the country.
    • Ongoing humanitarian assistance in the form of food and cash from the government and humanitarian organizations will reduce the impacts of the lean season on certain poor households until the next harvest in October 2014.
    • Groundnut marketing problems are causing farmers to be more careful about how much land they plant in groundnuts this year. Small farmers in particular will scale back the amount of land that they plant in this cash crop during the 2014 growing season.


    • The rainy season and agricultural activities began early than normal throughout the country's agricultural regions and particularly in the south. In certain areas, planting activities took place one to two weeks earlier than usual.
    • However, the dry period that followed the early rains at the beginning of the month could force farmers in central regions to replant.


    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    Average production levels from the current harvest of off-season rice crops in the Senegal River Valley and in the south are helping improve the availability of rice. Rice sales are also providing poor households in these areas with opportunities to generate average incomes, improving their food access. The early onset of the rains throughout the country, and particularly in the south, in the first week of June led farmers to resume agricultural activities, which serve as an important source of food and income for poor households, in southern areas and the groundnut basin. Cumulative rainfall totals from May 1 to June 10 were normal to above average in the southern half of the country and below average in the north. However, according to the major meteorological forecasting centers (IRI, ECMWF), there is an increased likelihood of below-average to average cumulative rainfall totals during the rainy season (June to September 2014), which could reduce 2014/15 cereal production levels.

    Below-average cereal and groundnut production levels (-20 and -21 percent, respectively), groundnut marketing difficulties, and the sale of more profitable cereal crops caused household food stocks to be drawn down earlier than normal this year. This contributed to an early onset of the lean season (in May instead of June) for poor households in northern regions and in the groundnut basin (Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou).

    Cereal availability is average on most markets, despite the decrease in cereal production. Cereal prices (millet, imported rice, and maize) have risen from last month, in line with normal seasonal trends. Millet prices in particular have increased due to high demand as millet is frequently consumed after periods of fasting during the month of Ramadan. For example, millet prices are up approximately 17 and 13 percent from the five-year average in Dakar and Kaolack, respectively. However, millet prices are down 6 percent in Tambacounda due to average 2013/14 production levels in the area and the availability of Malian millet on the market. The price of regular imported rice, the primary cereal consumed by most households, is up 7 percent in Ziguinchor but is down 1.2 to 16 percent in Dakar, Kaolack, and Saint-Louis. The decrease in the price of rice is due to price fixing policies by the government and stable prices on international markets.

    Generally, small ruminant prices have declined by approximately 30 percent compared to the previous month, which is adversely affecting the purchasing power of pastoral households. Prices are down because pastoralists are thinning out their herds more than usual due to poor pastoral conditions and to build up cereal stocks before the period of the year when prices are typically high. With the start of the rains, new pasture growth in June and July will cause milk production to resume and will improve livestock body conditions, marking the end of the difficult pastoral lean season. In addition, livestock prices are expected to rise in July with the celebration of Ramadan, which will improve the purchasing power of pastoralists.

    The government’s ongoing program to distribute 40,000 metric tons of cereals and 56,325 metric tons of animal feed to 67,500 food insecure households as part of its national response plan will mitigate the severity of the early lean season for some poor households. However, even with this assistance, poor households in Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel department, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou will be forced to take out more loans, sell more forestry products, reduce non-food spending, and purchase less expensive food compared to a typical year. They will therefore remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from June to September. However, starting in September, the availability of early green crops and average incomes from agricultural labor will improve food access.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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