Senegal Food Security Update, April 2007


This report covers the period from 3/28/2007 to 4/27/2007

Production shortfalls and the resultant decline in household income from the sales of these crops will contribute to an earlier than usual start to the lean period in food insecure areas of Senegal and will lead to a deterioration of household food security conditions in these areas. Depletion of household food stocks, low levels of food reserves and steadily rising grain prices will further heighten household vulnerability to food insecurity as preparations for the upcoming growing season begin.

Pastoralists face increased difficulties feeding and watering their livestock, with the steady deterioration of pasturelands and the drying up of watering holes.

Timeline of major events

Food security conditions

The deterioration of household food security that began this month is attributable to the low level or absence of family food security reserves as a result of production shortfalls for the 2006/07 growing season, the consumption and/or sale of harvested crops, the steady rise in food prices and shrinking incomes. In addition to their limited access to consumer goods, agricultural households are faced with the added burden of land preparation costs, at a time when most of the village workforce remains elsewhere to earn extra income.

In the wake of last season’s production shortfalls, household food security in at– risk areas in the Matam, Louga, Diourbel and Kaolack regions is deteriorating with this year’s lean period beginning earlier than usual. Food security in agricultural areas in the southern part of the country is acceptable for the time being, though pockets of food insecurity persist.

Vulnerable households in food insecure areas are using various limited coping strategies to manage household needs in the face of production shortfalls. These include food– based strategies (reducing the quality and quantity of meals, eating seeds, etc.) and non– food strategies (selling of productive assets, borrowing from family and friends, destocking of livestock and out– migration in search of labor opportunities). However, households in these areas have not yet resorted to coping strategies that are indicative of extreme food insecurity, such as begging for food or skipping entire days of meals.