Kieni Sub-County: Drought Early Warning Bulletin for July 2014
The month of July was generally dry and windy. Light showers were realized in some parts of the Kieni Sub County which had no significant impact on both crops and livestock production.
On average, 39.95 mm of rainfall were realized during the month.
Due to the erratic and depressed rains experienced in the area, the current river flows are at the minimum base flow. Water holding structures and pans are drying up while the boreholes are currently not recharged though the static levels have been maintained. Average distances to water sources have increased in the region
Livestock body condition was fair tending to poor. Observed body conditions could be attributed to deteriorating pasture conditions as well as long trekking distances to and from watering points and grazing areas. Available pastures are expected to last for 2 to 3 weeks if the current situation does not change. Browse condition remained good across all the livelihood zones.
March-April-May (MAM) season crop suffered from moisture stress as the season rains were below average. Crop were affected at critical production stages as maize dried at tasseling stage, wheat dried at knee height while beans were lost at flowering and pod formation stage.
However, only small yields might be realized by few households that planted early before MAM season onset.
Due to the deteriorating livestock body conditions cattle average prices dropped by 28 percent, from Kshs 36,083.30 in June to 25,964 in July. Sheep and goat prices also declined by 27.2 percent and 11.8 percent from Kshs 4,051.80 and Kshs 3,800 in June to Ksh 2,947.90 and Ksh 3,350 in July respectively.
Milk production was on a downward trend registering a 9.8 percent drop from 6.8 bottles in June to 6.1 bottles in July. Drop in the production is attributed to the deteriorating pasture condition and long trekking distance in search of pasture. Milk consumption decreased by 10.5 percent from 2.0 bottles in June to 1.79 bottles in July. A bottle of milk retailed for 1.04 percent more from Kshs 20.48 in June to 20.77 in July.
Majority of the household relied on markets to meet household needs during the month under review. A kilo of maize retailed for 5.3 percent higher from Kshs 47.47 June to Kshs 50 July.
A kilo of beans retailed for 4.4 percent less from Kshs 83.1 last month to Kshs 79.45 in July.
Nutrition status of children below the age of five during the month under review stood at 3.07 percent. Highest malnutrition rates were reported in Naromoru of 7.3 percent followed by Thegu at 2.4 percent, Mwiyogo 2.1 percent and Kabaru at 1.3 percent. Observed status was above the normal threshold. This could be attributed to poor feeding habits, decline in exclusive breastfeeding and food shortage.