FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 11/99 - Kenya

Harvesting of the 1999 main "long rains" cereal crops is nearing completion in the main growing areas of the Rift Valley. Significant output reductions are reported for the Eastern, Central, Western and Nyanza Provinces due to drought, inadequate agricultural input supply and armyworm infestation in some parts. Prospects for the 1999/2000 "short rains" cereal crops in the bi-modal areas of the Western, Central and Eastern provinces, for harvest in February/March, are also unfavourable due to drought conditions. Preliminary official estimates indicate a maize output of about 2.1 million tonnes compared to 2.44 million tonnes last year and 2.5 million tonnes average over the previous five years. Cereal stocks at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) were under 34 000 tonnes as of end September, against a target reserve requirement of 270 000 tonnes. The Government plans procurement of about 90 000 tonnes at the peak of the harvest period in November and December, leaving a significant deficit to be made up by imports. The food supply situation is critical in the northern and north- eastern pastoral districts, particularly in Turkana District, where rainfall from the long rains season has been too erratic and insufficient for adequate pasture and water supplies. Severe food shortages are also reported in parts of Central and Eastern provinces. The Government has recently set up emergency co-ordinating committees and provided more than 4 000 tonnes of relief food to vulnerable households in Eastern Province and the pastoral districts. More food assistance is needed for the affected population.