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Stressed food security continues in northern and central Senegal

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Senegal
  • September 2014
Stressed food security continues in northern and central Senegal

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Normal to below normal rains forecast from September to October will not be sufficient to eliminate rainfall deficits that are threatening to result in a below-average cereal harvest, after more than a two-week delay in the development of crops.

    • The first harvests expected at the end of September will put an end to the lean season later than normal for poor agropastoral households. Harvests in October and staple food price decreases between October and January will allow pour households to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    • The early exhaustion of household stocks and the decrease in agricultural revenue currently affecting poor households will result in an early start to the lean season in affected areas in 2015.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    Poor temporal distribution of rainfall is disrupting farming activities and making it necessary to replant many crops in the central and northern reaches of the country, particularly in the St Louis, Louga, and Thiès regions.

    The expected below-average rainfall activity between September and October will fail to create the necessary water conditions for proper crop growth and development in severe drought-stricken areas.

    The protracted lean season in farming areas as a result of the extremely limited and localized availability of fresh green crops is sustaining a higher than usual demand for market supplies of foodstuffs for this time of year which, in turn, is keeping prices high.

    The availability of fallback foods (maize, edible groundnuts, and cowpeas) by the end of September, though below-average, will improve household food access and mark the end of the lean season.

    There are ongoing distributions of seeds for short-cycle cereals, pulses, and cassava by the government designed to mitigate the negative effects of the poor rainfall conditions on crop production.

    The use of these seeds will mitigate the adverse effects of the late start-of-season in areas where conditions have allowed for them to be planted. October harvests of these crops will provide farmers with food and income.


    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    Rainfall deficits continue to disrupt normal crop growth and development, particularly in the central and northern reaches of the country. An examination of cumulative rainfall totals for the period from May 1st through September 10th shows slight to severe rainfall deficits in the northern half of the country and about-average to above-average levels of rainfall in the southeastern reaches of the country (Figure 1). Continued crop planting activities beyond the usual planting period explains the lag of at least a month in the growth and development of cereals and pulses, resulting in a more limited than usual availability of less preferred foods (maize, groundnuts, and cowpeas) for this time of year. The interest in government-subsidized short-cycle sorghum, cowpea, and sesame seeds is helping to mitigate the negative effects of the poor rainfall conditions on the food security situation. The expected average to below-average rainfall activity between September and October based on weather forecasts by the ACMAD will make it impossible to offset the existing water deficit to allow for continued crop growth and development.

    The main August rains helped replenish pasture and watering areas across the country. However, vegetation levels are still below-average, with severe localized deficits in the northern, western, and central reaches of the country (Figure 2). The improvement in pastoral conditions and the feed assistance furnished by the government have limited losses of livestock. Though rebounding, milk production is still well-below-average. This production shortfall is reducing proceeds from the sale of milk by pastoral households.

    The hoarding of local cereal stocks in crop-producing areas in the face of the disappointing progress of the current growing season is tightening supplies on retail markets. The de facto closure of the country’s border with Guinea is hurting trade between the two countries, tightening supplies of food (rice, fruits, and tubers) and livestock on cross-border markets in Kolda (Saré Yoba and Diaobé). Even with the reopening of the border at the beginning of this month, this problem will continue to affect trade flows, reducing the volume of cross-border trade on the Kolda and Kedougou markets. Prices for imported broken rice, the main cereal consumed by Senegalese households, are unchanged from last month and below-average by approximately four percent in Kaolack and eight percent in Dakar, sustaining household access to this foodstuff. August prices for millet were above the five-year (2008 – 2013) average by four percent in Dakar and 15 percent in Tambacounda. The physical recovery of livestock with the improvement in pastoral conditions and demand for the upcoming Feast of Tabaski are helping to drive livestock prices in general and prices for small animals in particular above-average between September and October.

    The later than usual availability of less preferred foods as a result of the poor rainfall conditions in most farming areas is prolonging the lean season for farming communities, particularly in the northern and central reaches of the country, where the delay is approximately one month or longer compared with the normal calendar. Poor households in the Kaolack, Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Bakel, Louga, Saint-Louis, Matam, Casamance, and Kédougou areas hurt by shortfalls in their crop production and farm incomes for the 2013/14 season are more reliant than usual on coping strategies to meet their food needs. Such strategies will include cuts in non-food spending, the pursuit of other normal income-generating activities for farm labor with the poor rainfall conditions and resulting reduction in the size of cropped areas, larger than usual sales of livestock, and recourse to borrowing, pending the availability of the first early crops in late September. The Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions in anomaly areas will improve in October with the availability of crops from the main harvest and the stable or lower prices of foodstuffs, which will improve household food access at least through December. Thus, with these crops and the regular pursuit of normal income-generating activities, there will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) household food insecurity between October and December.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through September 10, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Cumulative rainfall anomalies for the period from May 1st through September 10, 2014

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Vegetation (NDVI) anomalies as of September 10, 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Vegetation (NDVI) anomalies as of September 10, 2014

    Source: USGS/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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