Reference Date: 02-October-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Below average cereal production from the 2013 long-rains season in most cropping areas
Pasture and water availability declined seasonally in most pastoral areas
Maize prices increased in September, but are still below last year
Food security situation remain stable across the country
Land preparation is underway for planting 2013 short-rains season crops, to be harvested by the end of the year. The weather forecast indicates late and erratic rains which don’t augur well for crop production.
The 2013 long-rains season cereal production affected by a prolonged dry spell in May/July
In bimodal south-eastern and coastal lowlands, harvesting of 2013 long-rains season (March-to-June) crops has just been completed and coarse grain production (that usually accounts for 30 percent of annual output) is estimated at below average levels. After a positive start, the torrential rains in mid-April that resulted in severe localized floods with loss of infrastructures, crops and livestock were followed by a dry spell from mid-May that significantly impacted on maturing crops. In particular, maize production is expected to be well below average in Makueni, Taita Taveta, Kitui and Nyeri counties. In major unimodal growing areas of Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western provinces, harvesting of 2013 long-rains season (March-to-September) has just started. Significantly lower yields are expected in some areas of Nyanza and Western provinces where a prolonged dry spell from mid-May to early-July affected maize crop at critical development stage.
Overall, cereal production in 2013 is forecast to decline by about 17 percent compared to last year, but would remain near the average level of the previous five years.
Late recovery of pasture conditions expected
In eastern and north-eastern pastoral areas, quantity and quality of pasture and water resources have deteriorated since early July due seasonal dry weather conditions. Grazing conditions are particularly well below average in Kitui, Mbeere and Makueni counties due to the early start of the dry season. In most pastoral areas, the 2013 short-rains season (October-to-December) is forecast at below average levels with an onset of rains delayed by about one month, slowing down the expected recovery in animal body conditions and milk production.
Prices of maize increased in September
Wholesale prices of maize began to increase in September in all monitored markets by between 6 and 13 percent, driven by a below average harvest in some bimodal southern and coastal areas and by concerns over crop performance in major unimodal growing areas of the grain basket. Increasing fuel prices have also provided further support to price increases. Despite the recent increases, however, prices of maize in September 2013 are still slightly below the levels of a year earlier.
Overall food security remain stable
Despite the erratic rainfall performance, food security conditions are generally stable across the country. Most poor households in south-eastern and coastal agricultural areas as well as eastern and north-eastern pastoral areas remain at “stressed” level (IPC, phase 2) of acute malnutrition. In October, the situation may deteriorate in some areas if the onset of 2013 short-rains will be significantly delayed, affecting milk availability and reducing opportunities for casual labour at planting.
Kenya continues to host the largest number of refugees in the Horn of Africa, with about 472 000 refugees from Somalia as of mid-September 2013. 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.