FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 3/01 - Kenya

Prospects for the 2001 main season cereal crops are favourable. Abundant precipitation in April and May favoured planting and benefited early planted crops. Production is expected to be normal and higher than last year when a severe drought decimated crops. However, an army-worm outbreak reported in some key grain producing areas may threaten the outcome of this year’s main season. Rains in June will also be crucial for this season’s harvest.

The overall food supply situation has improved considerably following favourable short-rains harvests and improved pasture in several central and western pastoral districts following abundant rains. However, eastern pastoral districts have yet to recover with only scanty rainfall received so far.

The severe drought in 1999/2000 seriously undermined the food security of 4.4 million people, particularly in pastoral areas, and resulted in a massive relief operation. Notable improvement in rates of child malnutrition were reported illustrating the impact of emergency interventions. However, emergency food assistance will still be required, at least until the main season harvest towards the end of the year.

A revised Emergency Operation (EMOP) was jointly approved in January 2001 by FAO and WFP for food assistance to the 4.4 million drought affected people. Under the EMOP, an estimated 548 000 tonnes for the period June 2000 to July 2001 are required, of which about 78 percent has been pledged so far. However, delays in shipments were reported to have caused problems since January 2001.