Reference Date: 04-February-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
“Short-rains” crop production estimated at below-average level
Poor conditions of grazing resources in northeastern and central pastoral areas, while beneficial rains improved pasture availability in northwest
Prices of maize continue to decline due to adequate supply
Food security conditions expected to deteriorate in southeastern and coastal agricultural areas as well as northeastern pastoral areas
Below-average production expected from 2014/15 “short-rains” season crops
In bi-modal rainfall southeastern and coastal lowlands, harvesting of 2014/15 “short-rains” season crops is expected to start in February and production is forecast at below-average levels due to erratic rainfall. The October to December “short-rains” season has performed poorly, with late onset, below average amounts and early cessation by the first dekad of December. Extensive replanting was needed especially in Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Embu and Nyeri counties, with consequent significant delay for crops to reach maturity and be harvested. The “short-rains” season cereal harvest normally accounts for about 20-25 percent of the country’s total annual production.
Aggregate cereal production in 2014 is estimated at 3.6 million tonnes, about 10 percent below last five-year average. Accordingly, cereal import requirements for the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are set at an above-average level of about 2.5 million tonnes, including 1.1 million tonnes of wheat and wheat flour, 900 000 tonnes of maize and 445 000 tonnes of rice.
Poor pasture conditions in most northeastern and central pastoral areas
In most northeastern and central pastoral areas, the “short-rains” season started with a substantial delay of 3-4 dekads and has been extremely poor in terms of rainfall amounts and distribution, with significant moisture deficits reported in Isiolo, Wajir, eastern Marsabit and northern Garissa counties. Trekking distances have generally increased, livestock body condition ranges from fair to poor and milk production is generally below average. In these areas, pasture conditions and water availability are expected to deteriorate further during the current dry season, until the 2015 “long-rains” season will likely start in March.
By contrast, beneficial rains in October and November have improved rangeland conditions in northwestern pastoral areas of Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot and western Marsabit counties, where animal body condition is currently between fair and good.
Maize prices at low levels in most markets
In 2014, maize prices have substantially decreased between June/July and November/December. In main urban markets of Nairobi and Mombasa, wholesale maize prices declined between June and December by 32 and 45 percent, respectively. The adequate availability of 2015 “long-rains” season crops coupled with substantial imports from Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania have increased supplies in local markets, exerting downward pressure on prices. Currently, despite some recent increases, maize is traded in most wholesale markets at about USD 235-280 per tonne, about 20-40 percent below the levels of 12 months earlier.
Food security expected to deteriorate in southeastern and coastal agricultural areas as well as in northeastern pastoral areas
The overall food security situation has improved since the end of the lean season in October. The availability of the 2014 “long-rains” season crops coupled with low and declining maize prices has generally improved households’ food access. However, the poor performance of the 2014/15 “short-rains” season in southeastern and coastal zones is expected to lead to a significant deterioration of local food security conditions as food stocks will be only partially replenished and households will have to rely more on markets for their food requirements. Food security conditions are also expected to deteriorate for most pastoralists in northeastern areas of Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa counties, where grazing resources were not adequately regenerated during the past “short-rains” season and will then deteriorate quickly during the ongoing January-March dry season.
As of early January 2015, the country hosts about 585 300 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan. About 80 percent of Somali refugees reside in Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Garissa county, where access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to the high concentration of people. In addition, an estimated 89 500 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 in Turkana county. Latest reports indicate that the most pressing needs include protection for separated children, registration and health services.