Recurring tensions on the price and availability of rice: achieving self-sufficiency, the only sustainable solution

Recurring tensions on the price and availability of rice: achieving self-sufficiency, the only sustainable solution
Recurring tensions on the price and availability of rice: achieving self-sufficiency, the only sustainable solution

In Senegal, tensions over the price and availability of rice are recurrent. A few days before the announcement of the reduction made by the new regime on certain essential foodstuffs, consumers denounced a supposed increase in the price of unscented broken rice. Allegations that some importers and the Dakar Regional Trade Service have denied. Increase or not, in any case, what is clear is that we often note pressure on the price and availability of rice on the national market. The only solution to deal with this situation would be, according to experts, to achieve self-sufficiency in rice once and for all. Especially since this option is an anticipation of major changes in international trade.

In recent days, before the measure to reduce the prices of certain common consumer goods (a measure which awaits the meeting of the National Consumer Council to be effective), rumors were circulating about an increase in the price of unscented broken rice. As a result, some retailers accused wholesalers of having increased the price of bags of unscented broken rice. Allegations which have been denied by rice importers and traders who specify that a drop of 20,000 FCFA per tonne has even been noted. For his part, the head of the Dakar Regional Commerce Service Amadou Touba Niane who was questioned on this issue had specified, at that time, that the ton cost between 360,000 and 370,000 FCFA compared to 380,000 FCFA, a month earlier . So, according to him, there is no price increase. In any case, even if there has not been a surge in the price of rice, the reality is that the availability of the product is often lacking. Indeed, in recent years, several cases of price increases on the market have been noted. These dysfunctions noted in the distribution of the product are often due to exogenous factors, notably the economic situation.

To get around all these difficulties facing Senegal in properly supplying the market with rice, the government of Macky Sall had focused on local production. Indeed, upon his accession to the supreme office, he proclaimed his desire to achieve self-sufficiency in rice in 2017. Macky Sall thus considered it urgent to produce enough to satisfy Senegal’s needs in rice. In 2014, the State of Senegal injected 74 billion FCFA to achieve this objective. At the same time, the authorities carried their slogan “Rice self-sufficiency in 2017” to all regions of the country. A few years later, we learned that paddy rice production for the 2017/2018 campaign was 1 million 15 thousand 334 tonnes, an increase of 7% compared to the 2016/2017 campaign. While the authorities’ objective was to achieve a production of 1 million 80 thousand tonnes of white rice, or 1 million 600 thousand tonnes of paddy rice by 2017. The deadline was therefore postponed until 2019 However, this self-sufficiency in rice is still not a reality in Senegal. Even today the new authorities are forced to redouble their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in rice in Senegal. Because, despite everything, this option for self-sufficiency is an anticipation of the major changes in international trade.

NDEYE AMINATA CISSE

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