GIEWS Country Brief: Senegal 06-February-2017

News and Press Release
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  • Favourable rains and continued Government support contributed to bumper 2016 cereal output for second consecutive year

  • Cereal prices on the decline in December but higher than year earlier levels

  • Improved food security situation anticipated in marketing year 2016/17 (November/October)

Above-average cereal production gathered in 2016

Harvesting of maize and millet, the major grains produced in the country, was completed in November 2016, while the rice harvest was completed in January 2017. Favourable weather conditions and continued Government support to the agricultural sector have contributed to a significant increase in cereal production for the second year in a row. Preliminary estimates put the 2016 aggregate cereal production at about 2.25 million tonnes, 5 percent above the previous year’s bumper output and about 55 percent above-average. Maize output was almost double the level of the previous five years, while production of millet, the most important staple crop, decreased by about 7 percent compared to the 2015 output, but was still 24 percent above average. The good precipitation levels also improved pasture conditions throughout the country.

A bumper crop was already gathered in 2015 following favourable rains and Government support. The 2015 aggregate cereals production was estimated at some 2.15 million tonnes, 72 percent above the previous year’s level and 56 percent above the average of the previous five years.

Cereal prices on the decline

Good supplies from the new 2016 harvest have resulted in price declines for coarse grains. However, prices in December 2016 were still above their year‑earlier levels. For example, aggregate millet prices in December 2016 were 12 percent higher than their levels in December 2015. By contrast, prices of local and imported rice were nearly at the same levels as in the previous year. Generally, domestic production covers a little over half of the country’s cereal utilization requirements. Therefore, Senegal continues to rely heavily on rice imports from the international market to meet its food requirements.

Food security situation mostly stable reflecting two consecutive years of bumper harvests

A large segment of the Senegalese population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock-related activities to maintain their livelihoods, and, therefore, remains in a state of chronic vulnerability due to unpredictable seasonal rains and climatic conditions. Moreover, the high import dependency rate for food exposes the population to fluctuations in the global market.

The bumper harvests gathered over the last two years are expected to significantly improve the fragile food security situation. However, according to the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis conducted in the country, about 345 000 people were estimated to be in Phase 3: Crisis and above.