Reference Date: 09-June-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Dry weather conditions in April affected 2014 “long-rains” season crops in western and central cropping areas, while better prospects forecast in southeastern and coastal areas
Grazing resources in Eastern and Northeastern provinces affected by dry weather conditions
Prices of maize seasonably increased in recent months
Worsening food security situation in some areas that harvested below average “short-rains” in January/February
Slightly below-average production expected from the 2014 “long-rains” season crops
The 2014 “long-rains” season (March to May) started on time during the second and third weeks of March, supporting land preparation and planting activities in the western uni-modal rainfall areas. Poor spatial and temporal distribution of the rains during April resulted into a prolonged dry spell eventually retarding crop development. This was characterized by wilting, especially in key maize-producing areas in the Rift Valley and central Kenya. As rains resumed in May in most cropping areas of the former Rift Valley, Western, Nyanza, Central and Eastern (with the exception of northern Kitui county) provinces, replanting is taking place and harvesting, normally scheduled to start in August/September, is likely to be delayed. In bi-modal southeastern and coastal lowlands, where the “long-rains” season represents only 30 percent of local annual production and harvesting is expected to start earlier in July, crops are in good conditions as rainfall has been generally favourable along the season (causing also localized flooding in coastal areas in May), leading to positive NDVI anomalies (see map). In conclusion, production forecast for the aggregate 2014 “long-rains” season cereal crops is set at slightly below-average levels.
Overall, cereal production in 2014 (including a forecast of an average output for the “short-rains” season to be harvested by early 2015), is expected to decline by about 8 percent compared to last year. Accordingly, cereal import requirements for the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are forecast over 2.5 million tonnes, about 22 percent above the average of the previous five years.
Dry weather conditions affect grazing resources in most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas
In most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Eastern and Northeastern provinces (in particular, central Marsabit, western Wajir and Isiolo counties) as well as in parts of the Rift Valley province (Turkana, Baringo and West Pokot counties), dry weather conditions persist as documented by negative NDVI anomalies in May (see map). In these areas, livestock have not yet fully returned from dry season grazing areas, with negative consequences on milk availability for most households. The current below-average rangeland conditions are expected to lead to a rapid deterioration of pasture availability during the June to September dry season with a negative impact on livestock body conditions and productivity. Milk availability is likely to be affected during this period.
Prices of maize on the rise in recent months
Maize prices continued to increase in May in most markets following seasonal patterns compounded by a below average 2013/14 “short‑rains” harvest, completed in March. Between February and May, maize prices increased in Nakuru and Eldoret markets by about 19 percent, while in Nairobi they went up by 8 percent. Overall, prices in May were between 5 and 20 percent higher than 12 months earlier. A significant flow of imports from neighboring Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania have most likely prevented maize prices to increase further.
Worsening food security situation in some southeastern and coastal areas
Most households in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas as well as in southeastern coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones are currently in Stress IPC Phase 2. The lean season is expected to start in July instead of August for some households in southern and coastal areas that harvested a below average “short-rains” season production in January/February and did not plant short-cycle crops during the current “long-rains” season. As the lean season progresses until green crops from the “long-rains” season become available for consumption from August, food prices are expected to increase further likely pushing those households into Crisis IPC Phase 3. In most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, grazing resources are expected to deteriorate quickly during the dry season (June-September), with a likely consequent increase in trekking distances, reduction of water and pasture availability, early migration to dry season grazing areas and reduced production of milk.
The country hosts the largest number of refugees in the Horn of Africa, with about 426 000 refugees from Somalia as of early June 2014. Most of them reside in Dadaab camps in northern Kenya where access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to the high concentration of people. In addition, as of 5 June, an estimated 37 700 refugees have crossed over to Kenya since violence erupted in South Sudan in mid-December and are currently residing in the northwestern area of Kakuma (Rift Valley province). The daily rate of arrival from South Sudan is as high as 500 and, by the end of the year, the total number of South Sudanese refugees in Kenya is forecast to reach 100 000-150 000 people. Latest reports indicated that the most pressing needs include protection for separated children, registration and health services.