GIEWS Country Briefs

Kenya PDF version    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 07-February-2014


  1. Below average production expected from the 2013/14 short-rains season crops in addition to the reduced output from the 2013 long-rains season harvest

  2. Recovery of pasture conditions expected to be short-lived due to below average rainfall

  3. Prices of maize firmed up in recent months despite the newly harvested crops

  4. Food security situation affected by below average “short rains” in parts

Below average production expected from the 2013/14 short-rains season crops

In eastern and northern bimodal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2013/14 short-rains season crops has just started and production is expected at below average levels due to erratic rainfall. The most affected areas include south-eastern and coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones, where the delayed onset of rains resulted in considerably delayed planting, and a dry spell in November that led to poor crop development. In these areas, where the short rain crops account for up to 65 percent of the total annual crop production, the maize output is likely to be considerably below average. According to early estimates, the seasonal maize production is expected to be about 40 to 50 percent below average. In particular, in marginal mixed farming areas in Kitui, Makueni and Tharaka-Nithi counties up to 70 percent of the planted area may not be harvested, while in the marginal agricultural areas of Taita Taveta County the output is likely to be as little as one tenth of average.

A reduced output from the 2013 long-rains season harvest

In the “grain basket”, the cropping zones in the unimodal rainfall areas in west of the country (Rift Valley, Western, Nyanza, and Central provinces) harvesting of 2013 long-rains season (March-to-June) crops was completed in November 2013. Land preparation and planting were delayed in many areas especially in parts of the Rift Valley, where some households avoided or delayed planting, fearing insecurity. In addition, yields were reduced due to poor rainfall distribution and the late availability of subsidized fertilizer, which in some cases, did not arrive until June after crops were too developed to benefit from its application. As a result, coarse grain production (that usually accounts for 30 percent of annual output) is estimated at below average levels.

Overall, cereal production in 2013 is forecast to decline by about 11 percent compared to last year. Accordingly, cereal import requirements for 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about of 2.36 million tonnes, 24 percent up from last year’s levels and 5 percent above the average of the previous five years.

Recovery of pasture conditions expected to be short-lived due to below average rainfall

The northern pastoral areas have had an October to December short rains season that was below average in terms of amount and erratically distributed over both time and space. The onset of rains was delayed by one month, and by December they had subsided in almost all the areas, with some areas like Isiolo, Marsabit, and Mandera recording no rains at all in December. As a result, the improvements in pasture, browse, and water availability will be short lived, and in parts of Turkana, Isiolo, Mandera, and Wajir counties they are already exhausted.

Prices of maize firm in recent months despite the commercialization of newly harvested crops

Prices of maize remained steady in recent months despite the commercialization of the newly harvested “long rains” crops and the recent start of the “short rains” harvest. Maize prices in January were between 9 and 12 percent higher than 12 months earlier; however, imports from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania mitigated the upward pressure on prices of the reduced domestic availabilities.

Food security situation affected by below average “short rains” in parts

In the eastern and coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones, affected by a reduced “short rains” cereal harvest, poor households will have to rely more on markets for their food requirements, but high cereal prices will prevent them to access adequate food. As a result, they are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through June. After that, as the August to November lean season approaches, some localized areas may fall into Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

In the zones of northern pastoral areas most affected by the erratic short rains, food security deteriorated rapidly after the rains ended in December. These areas include Kaaling, Lapur, and Loima in Turkana County, which are presently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Kenya continues to host the largest number of refugees in the Horn of Africa, with about 482 000 refugees from Somalia as of late January 2014. About 400 000 refugees 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 on 20 January, an estimated 9 950 South Sudanese refugees from Jonglei State have crossed over to Kenya since violence erupted in the neighbouring country in mid-December, and are currently residing in the northwestern area of Kakuma. The daily rate of arrival is as high as 500 and latest reports indicated that the most pressing needs include protection for separated children, registration and health services.

Relevant links:
 Cereal Supply/Demand Balance Sheet
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Main Food-related Policy Measures (From 1 Jan 2008 to 11 Oct 2011)
 Interpolated Estimated Dekadal Rainfall
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2000, 1997, 1997, 1996
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

Email this article Print     Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS Subscribe GIEWS RSS Share this article  Share it

GIEWS   global information and early warning system on food and agriculture