For official use only



16 December 1996


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Kenya from 23 October to 5 November 1996 to review estimates of the 1996 long-rains crop and prospects for the 1996/97 short-rains crop, to assess the food supply situation and forecast food import requirements for 1996/97, including food aid needs. The Mission visited five of the seven provinces of the country, including all the major grain producing areas, and conducted interviews with Government officials concerned at national and local levels, farmers, officials of NGOs, international agencies of the UN system and bilateral donors.

The Mission estimates the national long-rains maize crop for 1996 at 1.82 million tons. The short-rains maize crop is forecast at 403 000 tons, bringing total estimated maize production for the 1996/97 season to 2.22 million tons compared to 2.7 million tons in the 1995/96 season, a decrease of 18 percent. This decline reflects both lower planting and yields. As a result of low farm gate prices in 1995, some farmers in the main producing areas reduced long-rains maize planting in favour of increased wheat cultivation. Reduced use of fertilizer and high-quality seed, a decision spurred by high input prices, negatively affected yields. By contrast, a considerable increase in short-rains maize plantings is expected to compensate partially for this shortfall. Production of long-rains sorghum and millet is estimated at 109 000 tons with a further 90 000 tons of sorghum and millet forecast from the short-rains crop, most of which is now being planted. This could represent an increase in production of 49 percent over the previous year. The net result for total coarse grains production is an expected decline of 15 percent in the current crop year.

Wheat production is expected to increase by 12 percent over that of 1995/96 to 350 000 tons. Paddy production is expected to be similar to that of a year ago, at 47 000 tons. Total pulse crop production is estimated at 377 500 tons, some 25 percent below that of 1995; almost one half of this is forecast to be produced in the short-rains season, mainly in Eastern Province, where the long-rains season this year failed.

In the Eastern, Coast, North East and Lower parts of the Central provinces, rains failed for the second year and the food situation is tight. The most affected areas are the districts of Mwingi, Kitui, Kieni, Muranga, Machakos, Kwale and the pastoralist zones of the North Eastern province, where action needs to be taken to avert a serious food crisis.

The short-rains crop forecasts assume adequate rainfall during the period from November 1996 to January 1997. Prospects in this regard are, however, highly uncertain. Following a delay in the onset of the season, light rains were received in the second dekad of November but much more is still needed. Under the most

optimistic assumption of a normal short-rains season, there is likely to be a major shortfall in maize and pulse supplies in 1996/97, which, however, in the Mission’s view could be met through commercial imports. This will require lifting the two-year old ban on maize imports imposed in 1995 and some forward planning by the Government now, by giving traders the right economic signals, to ensure that import requirements will be met when they are expected to take effect in April 1997, lasting until September. At the same time, there is a need for contingency planning in the case of another short-rains crop failure, which could increase maize import requirements by some 75 percent over those currently forecast; those for pulses could more than double or even triple. But above all, another crop failure could have disastrous consequences for the currently drought-affected population which would largely be deprived of whatever coping mechanisms they have left.

As a result of the failure of the rains in some provinces, it is estimated that 1.6 million individuals immediately require relief assistance in the drought stressed areas until the next harvest in February, 1997. A large part of the relief food requirements and of the overall shortfall will be covered by the Government as well as a combination of measures indicated above for stimulating commercial imports.


The 1996 Long Rains Season

The 1996 long-rains cereal harvest was affected by various natural and man-made factors. The record 1994 harvest, which yielded 3 060 000 tons of maize, had been preceded by a poor 1993 harvest, when only 1 755 000 tons of maize were produced (Table 1). During 1994, large commercial and food aid imports together with a bumper harvest drove up stocks and adversely affected prices of the 1995 harvest. Many farmers sold maize at prices as low as K.Shs 350 per 90 kg bag, about half its production cost. As a result, farmers in surplus areas such as Uasin Gishu District, who had an alternative, such as wheat for which the price has recently risen, switched to wheat from maize. Others, in many cases, either declined to lease land to grow maize or left land fallow rather than invest in a crop the price of which, at planting time, was at or below its production cost. Farmers who had no alternative crop to maize continued to grow it, but with lower investment in seed and fertilizer and with predictably adverse effects on yield and production.

The high cost of inputs also militated against increased investment in maize production. Many farmers did not have the means to purchase inputs, following the reduction in the provision of agricultural credit by the Agricultural Finance Company (AFC). The use of certified hybrid maize seed was reported to have declined by up to 30 percent in the major producing Rift Valley Province, with 11 000 tons, half the normal national requirement, remaining unsold after the 1996 long-rains season.

In the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces, the traditional surplus areas, area planted to the long-rains crop declined in many of the high producing districts. In Uasin Gishu, where maize is planted as a commercial crop, the planted area declined from 54 600 hectares in 1995 to 41 800 hectares in 1996. However, in areas where maize is grown mainly for subsistence, with only a small amount available for sale, the area planted remained largely unchanged from the 1995 level.

Rainfall in the high potential areas of Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces was generally good, while most areas of Eastern Province and the lower altitude areas of Central Province experienced extended dry periods and erratic rainfall, which caused large-scale crop losses. In Katumani, near Machakos, rainfall during the months of March, April and May amounted to 73 mm, 100.4 mm and 42.8 mm, respectively, with 46 percent of this falling in the first dekad of April, followed by a month long drought. The lower altitude areas around Machakos fared even worse, recording little or no rain.

Heavy rains during June and July hampered bean production in Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces and led to a considerable drop in yield compared to the previous year. In the drier areas of the country, including Eastern, Coast and North Eastern Province, the rains failed for the second year, and in the case of Mwingi district, for the third consecutive year and there was virtually no crop output. Yields and production were also badly affected in the lower altitude zones of Central Province.

The 1996/97 Short-Rains Season

The short rains normally begin in mid-October, but this year they had barely begun as the Mission left on 5 November. Over 60 percent of maize and 30 percent of pulses had been dry planted in anticipation of the rains and continued rain is essential if these crops are to produce a good output. Rains in Central Province districts such as Meru and Nyeri have been encouraging, but in the rainfall- deficient areas of Kitui and Mwingi, only showers have occurred up to early November. It remains to be seen whether the short rains will prove adequate for the season that normally contributes between 15 and 20 percent of national production, but which is the main season in Eastern and parts of Central Province.

Should the short-rains crop in Eastern Province fail again in 1996, the consequences, in terms of destitution of people who have used every coping strategy available to them, will be severe. Already, many farmers in Mwingi District, desperate for food, have even eaten the seed that is normally set aside for the next year's planting. Seed distribution programmes have been implemented by the Government of Kenya and by some non-governmental organizations in various parts of Eastern and Coast Provinces to ensure that farmers have seed to plant.

Consolidated 1996/97 Outlook

Maize production in 1996/97 is expected to decrease by 18 percent, reflecting a reduced output in the principal production areas, where the use of inputs for maize declined considerably. Pulse production is expected to decline by 25 percent due to unfavourable weather conditions, while wheat, rice, sorghum and millet are expected to increase by 7, 12 and 49 percent, respectively.

Table 1- Kenya: National Production of Selected Foodcrops, 1993-1996

Crop 1993 1994 1995 1996 % change 1996 over 1995
Maize 1 755 000 3 060 000 2 698 863 2 223 058 -17.6
Wheat 212 776 297 000 312 644 349 740 +11.9
Rice 47 000 64 480 44 000 47 186 +7.2
Sorghum/Millet 147 614 177 480 133 637 198 641 +48.6
Pulses 518 428 462 780 506 311 377 621 -25.4


Regional crop data are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 - Kenya: Regional production of selected foodcrops, 1996.

Maize Pulses
Province Area (ha) Yield (kg/ha) Production (tons) Area (ha) Yield (kg/ha) Production (tons)

Long rains 82 897 1 209 100 222 54 850 291 15 961
Short rains 80 000 1 250 100 000 79 000 500 39 500
Total 162 897
200 222 133 850
55 461

Long rains 61 373 540 33 141 3 743 514 1 924
Short rains 11 000 450 4 950 300 360 108
Total 72 373
38 091 4 043
2 032

Long rains 182 920 217 39 694 199 829 158 31 573
Short rains 349 890 530 185 442 277 713 443 123 027
Total 532 810
225 136 477 542
154 600

Long rains 131 510 2 300 302 473 75 971 282 21 424
Short rains 35 725 2 070 73 951 18 144 884 16 039
Total 167 235
376 424 94 115
37 463

Long rains 445 610 2 320 1 033 815 200 643 423 84 872
Short rains 10 000 360 3 600 5 000 360 1 800
Total 455 610
1 037 415 205 643
86 672

Long rains 150 030 2 070 310 562 80 796 450 36 358
Short rains 30 000 1 170 35 100 12 500 400 5 000
Total 180 030
345 662 93 296
41 358

Long rains 90 1 200 108 49 714 35
Short rains - - - - - -
Total 90
108 49
Long rains 1 054 430
1 820 015 615 881
192 147
Short rains 516 615
403 043 392 657
185 474
Total 1 571 045
2 223 058 1 008 538
377 621

Table 2: cont.

Sorghum and Millet Wheat Rice
Province Area (ha) Yield (kg/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (kg/ha) Prod. (tons) Area (ha) Yield (kg/ha) Prod. (tons)

Long rains 21 806 1 017 22 177 400 750 300 - - -
Short rains 4 000 900 3 600 - - - - - -
Total 25 806
25 777 400


Long rains 57 491 1 200 68 989 - - - 4 780 3 200 15 296
Short rains 10 510 1 200 12 612 342 1 080 369 100 3 000 300
Total 68 001
81 601 342
369 4 880
15 596

Long rains 288 450 130 - - - 2 075 1 248 2 590
Short rains 30 450 14 - - - - - -
Total 318

2 075
2 590

Long rains 40 021 106 4 242 4 000 2 200 8 800 - - -
Short rains 99 595 720 71 708 10 040 2 700 27 108 - - -
Total 139 616
75 950 14 040
35 908


Long rains 165 540 89 6 742 1 350 9 102 5 800 5 000 29 000
Short rains 200 540 108 9 000 1 350 12 150 - - -
Total 365
197 15 742
21 252 5 800
29 000

Long rains 14 954 880 13 160 141 020 2 070 291 911 - - -
Short rains 5 000 360 1 800 - - - - - -
Total 19 954
14 960 141 020
291 911


Long rains 26 450 12 - - - - - -
Short rains - - - - - - - - -
Total 26

Long rains 134 751
108 799 152 162
310 113 12 655
46 886
Short rains 119 335
89 842 19 382
39 627 100
TOTAL 254 086
198 641 171 544
349 740 12 755
47 186

Rift Valley Province: Rift Valley Province normally accounts for over half the cereal production of Kenya, with the districts of Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia providing most of the surplus grain available for sale in deficit areas. Production of maize, the main staple, is down considerably on the previous year due to a combination of low prices for maize during 1995 following the bumper crop of 1994, and high prices for inputs such as fertilizer and hybrid maize seed, leading to a sharp reduction in usage of both. The reduction in the area of maize was partly compensated for in Uasin Gishu District by a corresponding rise in the area under wheat. In districts where farmers did not have an alternative such as wheat, the use of home-saved seed and lower than recommended rates of fertilizer caused a reduction in yield. Crops also suffered from seed borne diseases such as Head Smut in Nakuru district, with levels of stalk borer infestation higher than normal due to lower usage of the relevant pesticides.

Land preparation normally begins in January in the main maize growing areas, but this year it was in many cases delayed due to higher ploughing costs and to the generally low price expectations for the maize crop. As a result, infiltration of early rains was reduced and seed beds when they were eventually prepared, were not as conducive to good maize growth as they would otherwise have been. Planting was late and this predisposed the crop to greater than average infestation with Stalk Borer. Fertilizer usage dropped significantly, by up to 30 percent in some high potential districts. Some farmers used ostensibly cheaper Mono-Ammonium Phosphate rather than Di-Ammonium Phosphate, with the result that crops suffered from lack of nitrogen and yielded lower than usual.

Western Province: Western Province, comprising the districts of Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Mt. Elgon, Teso and Vihiga, is a densely populated area. In addition to food crops, sugarcane is a major cash crop in this area, with many smallholders allocating up to and over half their land to it. Production of maize is expected to be about 30 percent lower than the target level set by the Ministry of Agriculture of 421 000 tons. This is due to the same factors which reduced production in Rift Valley Province.

Rainfall was favourable with good rains recorded in Kakamega during March and April. July and the first dekad of August were drier than average, with good rains returning later in August and into September. A total of 49 days of rain was recorded in Vihiga in the three-month period from August to October.

Striga was reported to have caused considerable yield loss on both sorghum and maize. A beetle which attacks the tassel of maize preventing seed set, also caused yield loss in Kakamega District. Hail damage was reported from Vihiga District, leaving maize leaves shredded.

Nyanza Province: Nyanza province has a very varied climate, with some districts like Kisii and Kericho having multiple agricultural seasons. The long-rains crop in Nyamira and parts of Kisii districts is planted from November to February and harvested in July, providing the first available maize harvest each year. In 1996, farmers in Nyanza Province planted 132 000 hectares of maize, 17 percent less than in the previous year. An estimated 30 percent of the crop in Bomet and Kisii Districts was sold in the immature state as green maize to traders, who in some cases, provided labour to harvest the crop. Cash returns from selling maize in this way were far greater than those achieved for the dried grain in 1995 and farmers accordingly accepted this trade very enthusiastically.

The relatively high prices offered by traders in 1996 is tempting farmers in areas where there is normally only a small surplus for sale, raising the possibility of food shortages in 1997. The extension services of the Ministry of Agriculture are advising farmers to be cautious about grain sales. Production of other crops, such as sweet potato and finger millet is, however, also increasing in Kisii and other densely populated areas, contributing to improved food security. Bananas are also a major crop in this area.

Farmers in Kisii crop throughout the year, with superficial land cultivation. As a result of this a pan has formed in some soils at shallow depth, reducing root penetration and rendering maize and other crops more susceptible to dry conditions, even a short dry spell.

Leaf blight was reported to be a big problem on local and A511 maize varieties, as a result of heavy and continuous rains. Hail damage was also widely seen on maize. Late planting of maize, together with lower use of inputs in Bomet District was reported to have predisposed the crop to higher than average damage by stalk borer.

Central Province: Maize is the main food crop in Central Province, with an estimated 83 000 hectares being planted for the long-rains season in 1996. Rainfall was below normal during the long-rains growing season in February, March, April and May in both Nyeri and Thika. Good rains in June were followed by a dry period in July and August.

The erratic rainfall led to crop failure in some areas, making replanting necessary. Replanted crops were adversely affected by the dry period in July and August; maize yields were consequently reduced by an estimated 20 percent. The lower altitude areas to the east, especially Kieni East and Kieni West Divisions suffered most from dry conditions and a successful short rains harvest will be crucial in these areas.

Bean crops in Muranga dried up and died in the low altitude areas and yield estimates of 810 kg/hectare in the better areas had to be reduced to 291 kg/hectare. Farmers in Nyeri and Thika also grow coffee, potatoes and tea , with many also having dairy cattle producing milk.

In the areas bordering Eastern Province, most of the land has already been prepared and up to 60 percent of the maize and 30 percent of the bean crops have been dry planted in anticipation of rain. The first major rains of the season began on 4 November, 1996.

Eastern Province: Eastern Province depends for the majority of its crop production on the short-rains crop, planted in October/November. No significant rains have been recorded in Eastern Province in October, 1996. The previous long-rains crop was a major disaster in many districts, notably Mwingi, Kitui, Makueni and the lower areas of Machakos. In Mwingi District, which has an estimated population of 317 000 people, the 1995 long-rains crop, targeted to produce a yield of 13 500 tons, achieved a total of only 360 tons. The 1996 March/May crop was almost a total failure. The 1995/96 short-rains crop in Kitui amounted to 16 650 tons, whereas the equivalent figure for the 1996 long-rains crop was 990 tons. This production was not sufficient to carry the people of Kitui through the year. Many farmers had to sell part of their harvest to pay school fees and other commitments and the prices realized at the time of sale were very low. Now, over 80 percent of the people of Mwingi and Kitui districts are dependent on food purchases from local markets. These are at very high prices relative to those prevailing in February and March, 1996.

The 1996 long-rains crop was better in the districts of Embu and Meru, especially in the higher altitude areas. The rains began in time in March but this was followed by a dry period in April and May which resulted in the loss of bean crops through drought. Maize yields in Meru were reduced from an expected 2.2 tons/hectare to 900 kg/hectare. In Embu district the long-rains crop of maize, harvested in September, amounted to 6 480 tons, compared to over 35 000 tons in the 1995 season.

The 1996 long-rains maize crop in Nyambene District also suffered from the dry period in April and May, with expected yields of only 180 kg per hectare, compared to a target yield of 1 080 kg/hectare. A similar pattern was seen in Tharaka Nithi District, but here people are supplementing scarce cereals with cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas.

The main crop in Eastern Province is still maize, despite the unsuitability of the climate for this crop. Millet and sorghum, which are more drought resistant, are relatively minor crops. Pulses are very important in Eastern Province, with up to half of national production being produced in a good season.

Coast Province: Coast province is generally an arid area and agriculture is confined to the river banks, with an estimated 2 600 tons of rice being grown under irrigation. Maize is the main crop, with an estimated 61 300 hectares under cultivation producing an estimated 38 000 tons. Sorghum and millet are minor crops with only 318 hectares reported under cultivation.

It was reported that Kwale District was suffering severely from the effects of a prolonged drought, but the Mission was unable to visit this area. It is recommended that the situation there be investigated.

North Eastern Province: North Eastern Province, a mainly pastoralist area, has suffered from a severe drought for the past three years, leading to depletion of natural range, forcing livestock owners to move east, north and south to find browse for their animals. This has put pressure on water and grazing resources in the relatively favoured areas of Isiolo. Animals, especially sheep and goats, are in very poor condition and declined sharply in value due to their poor condition and lack of effective demand from livestock traders who have ample livestock available to them closer to Nairobi than in the drought-affected areas of Eastern Province. The closure of the Somali border in June 1996 has prevented Somali livestock traders from purchasing stock in Mandera market, leaving an over-supply of stock, which are sold at low prices.

Merti and Sericho divisions of Isiolo and Habaswein and Griftu Divisions of Wajir Districts, together with El Wak and Fino Divisions of Mandera District, are reported to be the worst hit areas. Livestock prices have dropped to a very low level, e.g. K.shs 6 000 for mature cattle. Attempts have been made by one NGO to arrange for the sale of these animals to more favoured areas of Kenya. Reproduction rates for animals and milk yields have declined as a result of poor nutrition and water shortage. Agriculture is confined to a very small scale farming along river banks.

Lack of security is a major problem in the pastoralist areas of North-Eastern and the northern districts of Rift Valley provinces, with armed bandits carrying out cattle raiding, leading to impoverishment and destitution of communities and preventing them from availing of their normal pasture lands.

The situation in North-Eastern Province needs to be monitored closely, on a monthly basis, in order to avert the possibility of a very serious humanitarian situation developing.


The expected below-average harvest in progress at the time of the Mission and the uncertainties concerning the short-rains season, given the delay in the arrival of the rains, have created a perception among traders and farmers of prospective tight food-staple supplies later in the marketing year. This manifests itself inter alia in high prices and a rapid stock draw-down as reported by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).


Farm-gate prices at harvest time usually experience a sharp drop, sometimes to as little as K.Sh 300-500 per bag of maize, to recover later in the season to K.Sh 800-1000. At the former range, no farmer can be expected to recover his/her production costs, let alone to make a profit. While production costs vary widely, K.Sh 700 per bag can be considered a rule-of-thumb benchmark. This year, farm-gate prices amounted to K.Sh 850/bag and above. During the Mission, the NCPB offered K.Sh 800/bag at which price it was unable to find a seller.

Table 3: Average Wholesale Prices for Dry Maize and Beans at Six Major Urban Centres, October 1995/October 1996, K.Sh/bag and Percentage Change

Town Oct. 1995 Oct. 1996 2/ % Change 1996 over 1995 Oct. 1995 Oct 1996 2/ % Change 1996 over 1995
Nairobi 711 1 000 +41 2 981 2 491 -16
Mombasa 850 1 100 +29 2 093 2 425 +16
Eldoret 600 940 +57 1 775 1 800 +1
Kitale 532 800 +50 1 590 1 840 +16
Kisumu 590 1 000 +69 1 580 2 057 +30
Meru 700 940 +34 1 680 2 588 +54

1/ Rosecoco beans
2/ Provisional
Source: Marketing Information Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, as compiled by WFP Nairobi

While this year’s high prices are good news for farmers and set the right signals for the next season’s plantings, they obviously raise concern about the ability of poor consumers, notably in urban areas, to purchase their essential food requirements. The general inflation level is high in the country. In October 1996, wholesale prices in six major urban centres were between some 30 percent and 70 percent higher than in the same month a year ago (Table 3). However, while these increases pose serious problems to poor consumers, they must be seen in their medium-term perspective: last year’s October prices were at the lower end of the medium-term variability range. In Nairobi, for example, a bag of maize sold for K.Sh 1 000 in October 1996, compared to K.Sh 711 a year ago. But the October 1995 price was the lowest in the five-year period of 1992-1996 - with the highest price, K.Sh 1200/bag, registered in October 1993; the five-year mean for the month of October actually amounted to K.Sh 920/bag and the annual mean during this period to K.Sh 884/bag.

Prices for beans, except in Nairobi, also increased significantly over October 1995, though to a much less extent than those for maize. In general, price increases ranged from 16 percent to 30 percent, with extreme values at either end of the total range amounting to 1 percent in Eldoret and 54 percent in Meru, as shown in Table 3.

Stocks and the changing role of the NCPB in the face of market liberalization

Stock levels for maize are largely determined by what farmers hold. According to extensive surveys undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in all districts in March and June 1996, farmers held between two-thirds (March) and one-half (June) of all maize stocks, the NCPB between one-fifth and one-third, leaving a minor share of some 15 percent for traders. By October 1996, the NCPB had drawn down its stocks to 1.5 million bags (135 000 tons) or one-half of the Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) it is mandated to maintain, corresponding to a record monthly drawdown of over 400 000 bags in recent months, and it had not been able to begin replenishing its stocks.

Since the Government began its market liberalization efforts in 1993, the NCPB’s role has undergone significant changes. The range of products the NCPB handles has been reduced from all major cereals, beans and - initially - dried cassava, pepper and others to maize only. The overall objective is to make NCPB’s operations competitive in a liberalized market. When the market was swamped with surpluses in 1994, following a bumper harvest, large private-sector imports and significant food aid supplies, NCPB had to buy up to 10 million bags of maize, almost one-half of which it sold on foreign markets over the next two years. NCPB ceased exporting only in April 1996. As remnants of its original stabilization mandate, the NCPB’s current terms of reference include the 3 million bag SGR, serving, inter alia, as a market stabilization instrument. Moreover, it is the source of emergency food for the Government’s (i.e. the Office of the President’s) relief programme for the drought-affected population and for some WFP programmes (on a wheat-for-maize exchange basis). Meeting most of the current and future food import requirements will no longer depend on the NCPB, but will be in the hands of private traders.

Recent commercial and food aid imports

Two years after the liberalization of the maize trade in 1993, which followed serious supply shortages, maize imports were banned by the Government in the wake of the 1994 bumper harvest. The year prior to the ban, Kenya had imported 658 000 tons, of which 110 000 tons or some 17 percent were food aid (Table 4). The official ban notwithstanding, more or less informal cross-border trade between Kenya and its neighbours, notably Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, continued. However, cross-border trade is expected to contract sharply, due to a below-average maize harvest and strong internal demand in Uganda and a maize export ban imposed by Tanzania in the face of food shortages in 19 districts there. Food aid imports of maize for utilization in Kenya as opposed to transit food aid destined to neighboring countries have been negligible in 1995 and 1996, after the substantial supplies available in 1994.

Table 4 - Kenya: Commercial Cereal Imports and Food Aid 1994 - 1996 1/ (‘000 tons)


1994 1995 1996 3/ 1994 1995 1996 3/
Commercial 548 0 0 332 324 363
Food aid 110 6 6 67 26 9
Total 658 6 6 399 350 372
Food aid as % of Total 16.7 100 100 16.8 7.4 2.4

1/ Calendar years
2/ Food aid figures also include rice and sorghum
3/ Provisional

Wheat imports were between 350 000 and 400 000 tons per year over the past three years, with the food aid component ranging from some 2.4 to 17 percent.

Cereal markets remain very protected against world market forces, through the maize import ban and the levy of import duties on other food commodities. In the case of wheat, a 75 percent increase in the effective rate of duty was imposed by the Government on 30 October 1996, raising it to 29.4 percent. These import barriers will need to be reviewed against the Mission’s estimate of import requirements for 1996/97.

Supply/demand balance for 1996/97

In preparing estimates of the total food supply situation and expected import requirements (Table 5), the Mission took into consideration changes in human-consumption patterns, shifting from maize towards greater wheat and rice consumption, although maize clearly remains the main staple. Average maize consumption was 104 kg per caput/year in the 1980s, down to 100 kg per caput/year at the beginning of the 1990s and is now estimated at 96 kg per caput/year. Consumption of some 4 kg per caput/year of sorghum and millet brings total human consumption of coarse grains to 100 kg per caput/year. Wheat consumption, in turn, has increased from an estimated 19 kg per caput/year at the beginning of the 1990s to 23 kg per caput/year, and rice from 3 to 5 kg per caput/year in 1996.

Table 5: Kenya: Cereals and Pulses Balance Sheet for 1996/97 (October/September) (Population 31/3/97: 28.85 million)

Coarse Grains 1/ Wheat Rice (milled) Total Cereals Pulses Total cereals & pulses
Domestic availability 3 005 556 96 3 657 424 4 081
Opening stocks 583 206 50 839 47 886
1996/97 production 2 422 350 46 2 818 377 3 195
- 1996 long rains 1 929 310 46 2 285 192 2 477
- 1996/97 short rains 493 40 0 533 185 718
Total utilization 3 623 915 159 4 697 525 5 222
Food Use 2/ 2 885 664 144 3 693 433 4 126
Feed Use 94 22 0 116 0 116
Other uses/losses 394 53 5 452 45 497
Closing stocks 250 176 10 436 47 483
Import requirements 618 359 63 1 040 101 1 141
Anticipated commercial imports 590 343 63 996 94 1 090
Food aid 28 16 0 44 7 51

1/ Coarse grains production is 92 percent maize and 8 percent millet and sorghum production
2/ Maize and millet/sorghum 100 kg/cap/p.a. (maize 96 kg), wheat 23 kg, rice 5 kg, beans 15 kg. kg, rice 5 kg, pulses 15 kg

The Mission considers that its estimates of post-harvest losses (coarse grains 13 percent, wheat and rice 7.5 percent, and pulses 3 percent), which are derived from MoA estimates, considerably underestimate actual losses. The item of other uses for maize also includes the utilization of 50 000 to 60 000 tons annually by the Kenyan subsidiary of Corn Products Corporation (CPC) for a wide range of food and industrial purposes.

Given the Mission’s crop assessment and the above assumptions, food import requirements for 1996/97 are estimated at 618 000 tons for coarse grains, 359 000 tons for wheat, 63 000 tons for rice (milled) and 101 000 tons for pulses. Given the improvement in wheat production this year, wheat import requirements are less than the three-year (1994-1996) average. Coarse grains (i.e. essentially maize) import requirements, however, are substantial, considering they were virtually zero imports in the past two years, but they are below the 1994 level of imports.

Food aid currently scheduled for 1996/97 (mainly by WFP) amounts to 28 000 tons of maize, 16 000 tons of wheat and some 7 000 tons of pulses, leaving commercial requirements of 590 000 tons for coarse grains, 343 000 tons for wheat and 94 000 tons for pulses. At present, food aid donors do not appear to consider providing additional food aid over and above what is currently scheduled. Food relief for the population affected by the drought would continue to be provided by the Government through the Office of the President, which purchases locally procured food from the NCPB.

Preparedness planning

There are two important considerations to be taken into account in assessing the food supply and demand situation for 1996/97.

First, the above import requirement estimates assume a reasonable outcome to the short rains season. The prospects in this regard are, however, highly uncertain, given the delay in the onset of the rains. Another crop failure could have disastrous consequences. It could increase maize import requirements by well over 75 percent, and that for pulses could more than double or even triple. Moreover, the currently drought-affected population would hardly be able to absorb yet another crop failure, which would largely deprive people, especially in Eastern and Northeastern Provinces, whatever coping mechanisms are now in place.

Second, assuming a normal short rains season, the food deficit now projected by the Mission would take effect in early 1997, and would be carried into September 1997. To ensure imports by April will require some forward planning by the Government now, by giving traders the right economic signals. In particular, there is a need for reviewing current trade policies and import duty levels with a view to facilitating private sector imports of the magnitude projected.

In the light of these considerations, it appears essential that the Government should:

• monitor closely progress of the short rains season;

• make monthly updates to the current food balance sheet;

• initiate some forward planning towards meeting the deficits expected to commence in April 1997, on the optimistic assumption of a normal short rains season;

• review its trade and import duty policies with a view to facilitating commercial food imports of the order of magnitude currently forecast; and

• develop a contingency plan under the scenario of another short-rains crop failure.


The food deficit during the current marketing year has been estimated at 1.14 million tons. While the figure reflects the national shortfall, not all areas of the country are equally affected. Food aid will be required in the Northeast, Eastern, Central, Coast, and Rift Valley provinces in areas where rainfall has been inadequate for two consecutive crop seasons. The Mission estimates the harvest from the short rains will not be sufficient to overcome the food insecurity currently experienced at the household level in these areas.

For the last two years, Kenyans have benefited from a plentiful supply and low prices of grains throughout the country. Low prices are an important factor in food security at the household level, however they have forced farmers to switch from cultivating maize, a food crop, to wheat, a cash crop. With less maize being planted, in addition to last year’s crop failure, the amount of cereals available in the market has decreased, thus raising prices.

The flow of food between Kenya and the neighboring countries, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, is believed to be significant but the Mission was unable to obtain accurate data or estimate figures with any confidence.

The Office of the President anticipates a total of 3.2 million individuals will require relief assistance for a period of 6-9 months if the short rains fail. Given the Mission’s assumptions on the current short rains, it is estimated that 1.6 million individuals immediately require relief assistance in the drought stressed areas until the next harvest in February, 1997. Included in the immediate needs are 400 694 school children being fed in WFP’s School Feeding Project in the most affected areas of the Arid (207 101) and Semi-arid (183 652) Districts. WFP has increased its assistance to cover the needs of 79 000 more students and is waiting for Government approval for a continuing the project for another 5 years.

In the event of failure of the short rains, relief food assistance will be needed and is expected to be met in the following ways: the Office of the President will continue to provide relief food to affected districts; NGOs working in the Arid and Semi-arid zones already have projects and/or plans for assisting the targeted population; WFP will consider a small scale targeted and independent Emergency Operation (EMOP) through the school feeding project.

Commodities to be utilized for an immediate relief response from WFP could be made available through local procurement if the purchases can be completed by mid-March, 1997. Otherwise, WFP is prepared to make an emergency appeal up to 10 000 tons for food aid from outside the country. Broken down by project, WFP expects to provide food aid to the following projects/operations during the 1996/97 marketing year, as shown in Table 6.

Table 6- Kenya: WFP Food Aid for 1996/97 (tons)

Maize Maize meal Wheat flour Beans
Refugees 10 000 2 280 12 000 3 000
School feeding 13 000 - - 2 300
Forestry - - - 100
Food-for-Work 2 400 - - 1 100
TOTAL 25 400 2 280 12 000 6 500

All other import requirements should be met by the commercial sector. The Mission urges the Government to facilitate the commercial import of maize and wheat into the country at least to the level of the estimated shortfall plus the amount required to replenish the strategic stock. The provision of large quantities of relief food for free distribution will have an adverse effect on the market by lowering prices on both maize and wheat which would again discourage the planting of these cereals next season.

In view of the fact that relief food for free distribution is diminishing rapidly, the Mission recommends that the Government develop as soon as possible short-, medium-, and long-term strategies for lessening the effects of drought in the arid and semi-arid districts and begin implementing them. The donor and relief communities appeared willing to discuss with and support the Government in developing contingency plans for drought-prone areas. In this connection, WFP is currently assisting in the implementation of a food-for-work project involving activities aimed at drought preparedness, intervention and recovery in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana and Moyale districts. In these districts, WFP supports activities which are expected to be integrated with those of the World Bank-assisted Arid Lands Resources Management Projects.

Better targeting of beneficiaries by the Office of the President would be an immediate improvement in relief assistance. In most of the cases reviewed, it was noted by the Mission, that while the criteria for the beneficiaries was well defined, actual distribution covers every individual in the location receiving the assistance. This meant that those who really needed food aid only received the small percentage of their requirement.

Another short-term action that would significantly increase food availability is the improvement of on-farm storage and food storage management. That translates into at least one-month’s food for a subsistence farmer with no other sources of income.

Medium-term interventions such as increased security against banditry and livestock rustling, would allow farmers to have an extra source of income by keeping animals. In some parts of the eastern provinces, fertile land is lying fallow due to insecurity. Ensuring security in these areas would have the dual affect of attracting farmers back to fertile land and allowing farmers below subsistence level to generate income and become self-sustaining.

Multiplying and distributing seeds of drought resistant crops and implementing income-generating projects in the rural areas are longer-term activities aimed at enhancing household food security. Sorghum, millet and other drought resistant crops would give some ‘protection’ to the farmer so that he/she could expect a minimum yield each season. Small-scale, income-generating projects would assist in increasing the purchasing power of those without other sources of income.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495

I.J. Fahmi
Senior Desk Officer, OSA, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP I

Fax: 0039-6-5228-2839

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