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Average green harvests improve household food access

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • October 2015
Average green harvests improve household food access

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • The average ongoing green harvests in crop-producing areas are improving food availability and have marked the end to the prolonged 2015 lean season (April through September 2015). Average levels of income from the sale of green maize and groundnut crops and average in-kind wage payments for harvest-related labor work are also improving household food access.

    • The increasingly widespread harvests over the coming months will improve cereal availability on markets, triggering a seasonal decline in prices and, thus, improving the market access of poor households. These positive factors will help keep most households in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels of food insecurity between October 2015 and March 2016.

    • During the upcoming 2015/16 consumption year, household food stocks will likely deplete one to two months earlier than normal (by May-June this year compared to June in a typical year) in certain parts of the Northeast and in localized areas of the groundnut basin, due to cereal and groundnut production shortfalls. In order to meet their food needs, households will likely resort to negative coping strategies that will undermine their livelihoods, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity starting in June 2016.

    • Poor flood-affected households in the Dakar, Fatick, Kaolack, Saint Louis, and Matam areas have above-average financial needs this year for the purchase of food supplies and to replace assets lost during the floods. This will likely prompting them to resort to negative coping strategies to obtain food, as well as rebuild their weakened livelihoods. As a result, these households will also face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity starting in March 2016.

    ZONE

    Current ANomalies

     Projected Anomalies

    Groundnut basin: Gossas, Kongheul, Louga, Kafrine, and Kebemer departments

    The late start of the rains and the high price of groundnut seeds have limited seed access of certain farmers and have driven down cropping rates for this food crop.

    A shift from groundnut to cereal production will enable affected households to continue to maintain their food access during the 2015/16 consumption year, despite reduced incomes from groundnut sales.

    Flood zones: Dakar, Fatick, Kaolack, Saint Louis, and Matam regions

    The heavy rains between July and September have caused crop losses, as well as major damage to homes and livelihood assets.

    Crop production shortfalls and eroded livelihoods are reducing household stock levels for flood-affected households, which will make them market-dependent sooner than usual.

    Northeast: Raneyrou, Matam, Linguère, and Louga departments

    The late start of the rainy season and the poor temporal distribution of rainfall have negatively affected normal plant growth and development.

    The resulting crop production shortfalls in localized areas will prevent the rebuilding of food stocks to normal levels. As a result, household food stocks will deplete sooner than usual this year.

    Senegal River Valley: Matam, Podor, Saint Louis, and Bounkiling departments

    The Senegal River in the north and the Gambia River in the south were both above the flood warning level in September 2015.

    Good flooding levels will help ensure average to above-average cropping rates for flood-recession and off-season farming activities in the valley between December and March.


    Projected Outlook through March 2016

    The continuation of favorable rainfall conditions into October helped late-maturing crops (who are currently at the height growth stage instead of the heading stage as in a typical year) make good progress after the late start of the rainy season put them behind schedule according to the normal crop calendar. The above-average to average cumulative rainfall totals for the May 1st to October 20th period (Figure 1) are raising expectations that aggregate cereal production will range from average to more than 25 percent above-average this year (DAPSA, September 2015).

    The good availability of green maize and pulses (groundnuts and cowpeas) and ongoing planting activities for watermelon, sesame, potato, and cowpea crops in northern areas are providing work opportunities and will be sources of food for poor households between December and March.

    However, the late start and poor temporal distribution of the 2015 rains, particularly in the departments of Linguère, Ranérou, and Matam in the Northeast, have negatively affected cropping rates and crop development, which in turn will translate into below-average crop yields. Localized production shortfalls of groundnuts and cereals are also expected in the Louga, Fatick, Kafrine, and Matam areas for similar reasons. The resulting decline in farm income and premature depletion of household food stocks will negatively affect the food access of poor households during next year’s lean season (June and September 2016).

    The average to good pastoral conditions across the country are helping to keep livestock in average to good physical condition and to ensure an overall average volume of milk production. However, the harsh 2015 lean season prevented the typical physical recovery of livestock in livelihood zone 6 (Sylvopastoral, Livestock, and Gathering), where abnormally high mortality rates reduced the size of dairy herds and the number of new births, adversely affecting milk production. This could reduce incomes from milk sales and negatively affect the quality of food consumption between October and March.

    Markets across the country are currently supplied with average levels of food, particularly of regular broken and local varieties of rice from large trader inventories and off-season harvests in the Senegal River Valley. As a result, markets are reporting below-average prices for broken rice, which is the main cereal consumed by Senegalese households. For examples, prices are nine percent below-average in Saint Louis and five percent below-average in Dakar. In addition, livestock-to-cereal terms of trade are above average in Kaolack (+12 percent) and Saint Louis (+29 percent), resulting in average market access for pastoral households. 

    The expected average to above-average crop production levels will help promote good food availability in all parts of the country during the 2015/16 food consumption year. This, in turn, will help keep prices close to average, promoting average household food access. As a result, most households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between October and March. However, above-average financial needs for the rebuilding of flood-damaged livelihoods and declines in farm income due to crop production shortfalls in certain parts of the Northeast and in localized areas of the groundnut basin are causing affected households to scale up their wage labor, labor migration, fire wood collections, borrowing, and livestock sales in order to meet their food needs. With the normal seasonal rise in cereal prices and their need for additional funds, poor households affected by the crop production shortfalls, particularly in Linguère, Ranérou, and Matam departments, and flood-affected households will have difficulty adequately meeting their food needs without resorting to atypical cost-cutting strategies that will negatively affect their nonfood spending later in the year. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes are expected starting in March for flood-affected households and in June for households affected by crop production shortfalls.

    Figures Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through October 20, 2015

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through October 20, 2015

    Source: USGS

    Figure 2. NDVI anomalies as of October 20, 2015

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. NDVI anomalies as of October 20, 2015

    Source: USGS

    Figure 1

    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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