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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

9 January 2009

Food Security Situation Update: Kenya



Latest reports from Kenya indicate an alarming food situation in Meru North and other parts of eastern Kenya due to significantly below average seasonal rains. Tens of thousands of people are reported to be in need of assistance. Already, large numbers of people, particularly in pastoral areas, are receiving food assistance due to slow recovery from previous drought and continued pastoral conflict and cattle raids. Incidence of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) - a virus that typically affects sheep and goats - in north-eastern Uganda and pastoral areas of Kenya has also caused high rates of small stock mortality, undermining pastoralistsí purchasing power, and reducing their food access.

Overall, harvesting of the 2008/09 maize crop is over and the total production has been revised down to 2.6 million tonnes following the crop failure in Eastern province due to a poor and short rainy season. At this level the outturn is about 2 percent and 7 percent lower than in 2007/08 the average of the previous five years, respectively. The price of maize in December 2008 in the Nairobi market, quoted at USD 303 per tonne, has dropped by almost USD 50 from November 2008. However, compared to the monthly average in December 2007, this level is still 36 percent higher. In Mombasa, the price of maize in December 2008 registered at USD 333, a slight decline of about USD 5 compared to November.

In order to increase domestic supply the Government of Kenya has approved imports of about 450 000 tonnes of maize, duty free. In addition, the Government has banned exports of maize grain and flour from the country.