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February 12, 2012

Senegal peanut harvest falls after poor 2011 rains

Senegal’s rain season, never as heavy as that of its more southerly neighbors, was poorer and more erratic than usual in 2011. The rains, which normally begin in July for most of the country, started several weeks later than expected and were generally characterized by light downfalls and long dry spells.

A similar trend has sparked fears of a food crisis in several of West Africa’s Sahel countries, although Senegal is considered one of the relatively food secure countries.

Peanuts are Senegal’s main agricultural commodity, cultivated by mostly small scale farmers for use by the country’s food oil processing industry, and for export. The country is one of the world’s top producers of peanuts, the sector first commercially established during the French colonial era.

Oil tracker Oil World reports the 2011 peanut harvest was 450,000 tons, almost half of the previous year’s 840,000 tons. The fall in farmer income comes at a time of complaints about the rising cost of living

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