Macky Sall says Senegal must achieve food sovereignty as global food prices soar as a result of the war in Ukraine and the economic fallout of Covid-19.
Speaking at an event to mark the country’s 62nd anniversary, Sall says that “considering the high risk of shortages and soaring prices due to the global crisis, I call for a general mobilization to increase and further enhance our agricultural, livestock and fishing products.”
To boost food security, Sall announced investments devoted to the modernisation and diversification of the livestock, fishing, and agricultural sectors, including an increase in the agricultural budget from 60 to 70bn FCFA ($100m – $117m).
The supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic triggered worldwide inflation, and Russia’s war in Ukraine – a major crop exporter – is likely to lead to further food prices increases in Africa.
In March 2022, in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, wheat reached an all-time high of 1350 USd/Bu in the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). This increase has particularly affected the African continent as Ukraine and Russia accounts for nearly 40% of its wheat imports, according to the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Sall said that Senegal will be affected by the “uncertain and turbulent global context”. Retailers are already reporting price increases in Dakar. According to Radio France Internationale, market traders say that prices of food oil, rice and coffee have increased from 50 to 300 FCFA (approximatively 0,08 to 0,5 US dollars).
Russia and Senegal boost ties
Senegal may be particularly vulnerable to Eastern European supply disruptions. Over the past several years, Russia has become an increasingly important partner for Senegal, which imports Russian agricultural products such as wheat. Russia is Senegal’s fourth largest provider of agricultural commodities, according to Chatham House.
Senegal’s wheat imports from Russia totalled $104m in 2020, an increase of 37% since 2015, according to the think tank. Other major sellers include India, France, the Netherlands, and Brazil.
Meanwhile, Ukraine exported oilseeds to Senegal worth $9m in 2020, as well as $600,000 worth of other products.
The Ukrainian crisis, as well as the economic consequences of the pandemic, have made Sall reconsider the pattern of Senegal’s food supply. He said that Senegal needs to “produce what it consumes and consumes what it produces”.
However, Senegal’s imports of agricultural products have constantly increased since the 2000s, constituting approximately $1.6bn in 2020 compared to $1.2bn in 2015.