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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 26-September-2016


  1. “Long-rains” crop production estimated at below‑average levels

  2. Dry weather conditions affected pasture availability in most eastern and northeastern areas

  3. Prices of maize firm or on the rise in most markets

  4. Food security conditions worsening in most agro‑pastoral and pastoral areas

Below-average production expected from 2016 “long-rains” season crops

In southeastern and coastal bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2016 “long-rains” season crops, which represents 30 percent of the local annual production, has been recently completed. Production is estimated at well-below average levels due to unfavourable weather conditions. After a late start in April, seasonal rains were poor in terms of amounts and spatial/temporal distribution in most cropping areas. Very low yields, up to only 40 percent of average, are reported in Kitui, Kilifi and Kwale counties where rainfall amounts have been particularly scarce.

In western uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2016 “long‑rains” season crops is about to start with some delay due to the late onset of rains in April which hampered planting operations. Production is forecast at near average levels as precipitations in most surplus‑producing areas have been abundant, but their distribution has been erratic with a significant dry spell between end‑May and early June.

Dry weather affected grazing resources in eastern and northeastern pastoral areas

Poor rains affected pasture, browse and water availability in the most pastoral and agro-pastoral areas. The rainy season (March‑May) was characterized by a late start and low rainfall amounts, especially in eastern and northeastern Garissa, Isiolo and Tana River counties, limiting pasture regeneration. Better conditions of grazing resources are currently reported in northwestern Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu counties (see NDVI anomaly map) that received some late rains at the end of June and between the late July and early August.

In general, pasture conditions are expected to continue deteriorating until late October when the next rainy season is expected to begin. However, rainfall forecasts until the end of the year are not particularly favourable, especially if the La Niña phenomenon will occur.

Maize prices firm or increasing in August

In most markets, wholesale prices of maize increased by between 5 and 20 percent from April to July following seasonal patterns. Subsequently, prices remained firm or continued to increase in August despite the harvest in coastal and southeastern areas due to a reduced crop output. However, in August, maize prices in the capital, Nairobi, were 20 percent lower than 12 months earlier reflecting adequate carryover stocks from the above-average 2015 harvest and imports from the neighbouring United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.

Worsening food security situation mainly in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas

According to the latest national food security assessment, the overall number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is estimated at about 1.25 million, up from 700 000 in February 2016. The most acute food insecure people are located in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, with a higher concentration in Tana River, Garissa and Isiolo counties. Dry weather conditions have caused mass migration of livestock to dry season grazing areas thus significantly reducing milk availability at household level. In these areas, the food security conditions are expected to worsen until early November, when the next rains will start improving pasture availability. In southeastern and coastal areas, food security has recently improved following the commercialization of the newly‑harvested “long rains” crops. Nevertheless, as production has been severely affected by adverse weather condition, households are expected to deplete their cereal stocks earlier than usual, increasing their market dependence until the next “short rains” harvest in January/February 2017.

The country hosts a large number of refugees and asylum seekers, with about 336 000 refugees from the Federal Republic of Somalia as of late August 2016. About 80 percent of them reside in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Garissa county where access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to a high concentration of people. In addition, as of end-July 2016, about 51 000 refugees have crossed over to Kenya since violence erupted in South Sudan in mid‑December 2013, with most of them currently residing in the northwestern area of Kakuma in Turkana county.