FAO/Israel Klug

Normally pointed as one of the most stable regimes in West Africa, Senegal does enjoy a more comfortable socioeconomic situation that some of its neighbors in the continent. Nonetheless, the country still faces massive challenges to development and to eradicate poverty and inequality, especially in rural areas. Even though the economic performance has been quite satisfactory in the last years, pushed by a dynamic services sector, poverty is still prevalent in most of the country and particularly acute in rural areas.  In fact, according to the World Bank, 46,7% of Senegalese people live under the national poverty line. Malnutrition and children mortality have declined, and are lower if compared with other countries in the region, but life expectancy does not surpass 60 years. All in all, the country figures at the 154th place at the UNDP Human Development Index, at 0,47.

Nevertheless, after a series of external shocks that have slowed down Senegal’s economic growth, the is expected to return to its historical growth trajectory in the medium term. As for poverty alleviation, Senegal latest National Strategy for Socioeconomic Development for 2013-2017 (which substituted the previous Strategies for Poverty Reduction) sets a goal of tackling sectorial challenges to promote long-term development and to make the country closer to reaching MDG 1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) until 2015. Food security is pointed as one of the main challenges for development in the country, and a National Programme for Strengthening Nutrition (PRN) is in place to improve the nutritional status of Senegalese people.

Key Statistics
Country Area: 19672 (1000 Ha)
Land area: 19253 (1000 Ha)
Agricultural area: 9505 (1000 Ha)
Population – Est. & Proj.: 13454 (1000)

GDP: 12954 (millions of US dollars)

Human Development Index: 0.411
Global Hunger Index: 13.7
Source: FAO Country Profile, 2013

Food security

According to WFP, food insecurity is still high in many regions of Senegal, especially in the Ziguinchor area, affected by conflict, which disturbs local production and the ability of farmers to improve their methods and to invest in trade. In general, the nutrition security situation in the Southern part of the country has worsened, and the country as a whole faces a food deficit, even though it is a large commodity producer in West Africa.

Difficulties in the agricultural sector combined with poverty are the main causes of household food insecurity. According to FAO, a quarter of the population is undernourished, a proportion which has remained stable over the last decade. And the rural-urban divide has been deepening, thus rural areas suffer disproportionately with food insecurity and malnutrition. More recently the government has increased investment in basic services, which has already shown good results but are still insufficient given the current deficiencies, nonetheless a larger political involvement in agriculture and food security can improve the nutritional situation in the country, particularly in rural areas.


Family farming


Most people in Senegal depend on subsistence agriculture, heavily vulnerable to external shocks due to weather variation and natural disasters. The country is one of the largest food importers in the world, and according WFP over half of the food requirements of Senegal are with imports. Being such a large food importer, Senegal has been heavily hit with the latest rises on food prices, which deepened difficulties on access to food. Poverty are prevalent in rural areas, where basic services are mostly lacking. A post-conflict situation in the region of Casamance and the lack of steady employment in the country also affect both agricultural production and access to food.


In 2011, rural population made up 57% of total population in Senegal, and out of those, more than half live under the national rural poverty line. Agriculture employs nearly 75% of the active population and represents around 15% of the GDP, with arable land making up for 20% of all land used in the country. Senegal´s main crops are groundnuts, sugarcane and millet, which faced a continuous fall on production between 2010-2011 due to domestic and external shocks.


School feeding

The Ministry of Education, supported by WFP and other partners, has elaborated a National School Feeding Policy document and has been also promoting a home grown school feeding strategy. The World Bank has supported the government’s initiative to create a multisectorial group on school feeding and has recommended strengthening the  system of financial allocation and accounting mechanisms.

To improve school attendance and the learning process, and according to the Decennial Education and Formation Programme, the government has supported school canteens that have shown a positive impact on local school enrollment. WFP has also established a programme to support school canteens: 450,000 students in Senegal, out of which 21,000 in the region of Kédougou are benefited. And according to the government’s disposition to take ownership of WFP school feeding programme, gradual transfer of responsibilities is planned for 2014.

PAA Africa Activities


In Senegal, the Programme is being implemented in Kédougou region. Partnerships have been established with the federal and regional governments, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and farmers’ associations for activities in 2012–13. The pilot will benefit 1 000 vulnerable households, five unions of groupements d’intérêt économique (GIE unions) and 22 800 pupils. This joint initiative will facilitate the purchase of 60 percent of the rice produced by the targeted farmers for distribution to 173 school canteens in Kédougou.

The overall goal of the project in Senegal is to improve the food security situation and the income of household farmers and strengthen the viability of school cantines’ programmes through initiatives of local procurement of cereals.

Activities planned

  • - Identify GIE unions that produce rice and evaluate their processing capacities;
  • - Target vulnerable rice producing households and distribute certified rice seeds, in collaboration with GIE unions. Follow up of rice production activities in beneficiaries’ households;
  • - Establish a collaborative framework between GIE unions and small household farms on the one hand and purchase contracts between GIE unions and WFP on the other hand. This instrument will guarantee that a part of the rice produced by beneficiaries (60 per cent) will be purchased by WFP to be distributed to targeted school cantines. Follow up of this partnership;
  • - Installation of processing equipments for cereal products;

  • - Training GIE unions in Integrated Production Management and/or Risk Management, in stocks management and trade;

  • - Training officials in the school system and in the decentalized structures of the Ministry of Education to prepare a transparent strategy of local purchase

Target Area: Kédougou

Country Profiles_27-03 


The project will support three target groups:

- 1000 vulnerable households (rice producing family farms)

- 5 rice producing GIE unions (Groupements d’Intérêt Economique)

- 178 school canteens supported by WFP


FAO Senegal Country Profile

Country Profile: Human Development Indicators

World Bank Page: Senegal

Senegal’s profile on the Rural Poverty Portal

Our Partners in Senegal

WFP current operations in Senegal

FAO list of projects in Senegal