Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) - Kenya 2011 Drought Response, Wajir County


Executive Summary

Mercy Corps conducted an adapted Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) assessment in Wajir County of Kenya from 2-6 August 2011. The assessment was organized as a response to the hunger crisis resulting from the worst drought in the region in the last 60 years. The EMMA methodology was adapted for this chronic emergency that has seen a steady escalation over the preceding two years and focused on markets that could meet immediate food needs quickly.

Three critical market items were chosen to be analyzed: rice, maize and beans. Food items were preferred in order to respond to the immediate needs of the hunger crisis. Rice was chosen because it is the preferred staple food of households in Wajir, especially during Ramadan. It was anticipated to have the most robust market due to high demand and multiple trade routes. Maize was selected as the most commonly distributed staple food item. Beans were selected as the preferred source of protein after meat, which is currently limited and expensive.

The assessment covered 29 locations in Wajir County, including the major market centers.
The team was comprised of 22 data collectors who participated in a one-day training and preliminary analysis workshop, three days of data collection, and a final day for data compilation and an analysis workshop. In line with the EMMA methodology, the team conducted a gap analysis to identify household food needs in the target villages, a market analysis to map the critical market items and a response analysis to provide suggestions for appropriate interventions.

The key findings of the gap analysis are that households are eating fewer and smaller meals with limited diversity compared with six months ago. Most households, especially in more rural locations, have low dietary diversity, dominated by staple foods, due to low milk production and limited availability of fruits and vegetables. In addition, food aid targeting has not been updated to include households who have recently settled after losing their livestock. Distribution quantities are also low with monthly distributions lasting households only a week after sharing with neighbors and livestock.

The key findings of the market analysis were that major trade networks have been minimally affected by the drought to date. Traders in Wajir continue to source food items from Ethiopia and Somalia as well as within Kenya, selecting items based on price and availability.

However, the combination of reduced income, strained credit systems and decreasing purchasing power has reduced demand. Strong local credit systems that usually allow households to borrow food from retailers and traders until their income allows them to make payments have been stretched by lack of repayments, forcing some smaller retailers to close and traders to start limiting sales on credit. Strained credit systems are also threatening food accessibility in the future if traders further tighten credit availability.