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Below-average food stocks heighten the vulnerability of poor households

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • March 2014
Below-average food stocks heighten the vulnerability of poor households

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Weak industrial demand has continued to cause poor peanut sales, adversely affecting the incomes of peanut producers who have resorted to selling atypically large quantities of more profitable crops, such as sorghum, maize, and rice. The reported large destocking of these crops is weakening households by causing their food stocks to deplete unusually early this year in April, compared to May-June in a normal year.
    • Premature herd movements southwards and into Mali in search of pasture are reducing household milk availability. These movement are also reducing supplies on northern markets and are keeping prices well above-average. A high risk of animal mortality between May and June in the north, due to pasture deficits, will adversely affect livestock capital.
    • Due to their heightened market dependence and their unusually early and intensive usage of coping strategies to meet needs (ex. borrowing, the gathering and sale of forest products, the sale of straw, and the reduction of nonfood expenditures), poor households facing cereal production shortfalls in the north, the peanut basin, and Casamance will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) starting in April 2014.


    Current Anomalies

     Projected Anomalies


    The selling of peanuts at particularly low prices by certain farmers, due to this year’s marketing problems, is adversely affecting the incomes of peanut producers.

    An easing of peanut marketing problems is expected starting in April due to government financial assistance for the purchasing of peanut stocks.  

    Northern areas

    The lean season for livestock in pastoral areas began earlier than usual, in February instead of March, due to the sharper than usual deterioration in the availability of pastoral resources.

    The untimely start of the lean season will cause a sharper than usual reduction in animal production, with a high risk of livestock mortality.


    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    Due to 2013/14 rainfall deficits, cereal production was 17 percent below average, with the largest production shortfalls observed in the peanut basin (Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, and Bakel department), Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou. Despite these production shortfalls, cereal market supplies are large and have increased compared to last month, particularly in peanut-producing areas due to marketing problems for this cash crop. More specifically, industrial demand has been unusually low, causing current producer prices for unshelled peanuts to be 30 percent below last year’s levels. These problems have resulted in the excessive sales of local cereals (sorghum, maize, and millet) by affected households in order to meet their nonfood needs. This is further depleting the food stocks of these households, which are facing an earlier than usual lean season, beginning in April-May this year instead of June-July as in a normal year.

    The large flow of local cereals to domestic markets is responsible for the observed declines in prices compared to last month. The market in Kolda is reporting the sharpest price declines, where sorghum prices fell approximately 10 percent. In general, prices are down by five to 18 percent compared to the same time last year. However, millet prices are still above the five-year average by three percent in Kaolak and 23 percent in Dakar. Prices for regular imported rice, the main cereal consumed by Senegalese households, have been stable since last month but are slightly below average.  For example, prices in Dakar and Kaolack are 17 percent and 21 percent below average, respectively. Current food prices are helping to provide households in peanut-producing areas affected by the low peanut prices with relatively average food access.

    At rural collection markets, producer prices for unshelled peanuts are 13 percent below the official purchase price, although they are still up from January by six percent and up three percent compared to the average. Ongoing financial assistance programs by the government are designed to improve the liquidity of peanut oil processers over the next few months and are expected to help peanut producers with their marketing activities.

    Harvests of market garden crops in general and shallots in particular are underway. The government freeze on shallot imports is helping to ensure average sales opportunities. This, along with an approximately 45 percent increase in production volumes compared to average, is expected to cause above-average sale revenues for farmers. Off-season rice crops in the Senegal River Valley and in the south are progressing well. An average harvest expected in May/June will improve household food availability and incomes in these areas. Labor needs for the cultivation of these crops are also providing average income-generating opportunities for poor households.

    The premature depletion of pasture resources with the biomass production deficits in the north are triggering unusual herd movements southwards and into Mali in search of suitable grazing lands. The earlier than usual mass migration by these livestock herds is reducing livestock supplies on markets and is keeping prices five to 10 percent above average. These high prices are currently providing pastoral households with average market access. However, the decline in animal production and in the market value of livestock in northern pasture-short areas during the height of the lean season (April to June) in these areas will adversely affect the purchasing power of pastoral households, as well as the quality of their diets.

    Households in northern agricultural areas and central peanut-producing areas have below-average food stocks due to their unusually large cereal sales. This in turn is heightening their market dependence compared to a normal year. Incomes from crop sales and wage labor are currently helping households meet their food and nonfood needs. However, starting in April and through the end of June, most poor agropastoral households in Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel department, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou will scale up coping strategies, such as cutting nonfood expenditures, gathering and selling forest products, selling straw, and increasing borrowing to above-average levels, in order to meet their basic needs. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity during this period.

    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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