Across much of Kenya, above-average rainfall in April was followed by uncharacteristically dry weather in May. If dry conditions continue in June, maize yields will be low in some areas, leaving the country with a significant maize deficit for the long-rains season. Because of reductions in area planted, maize production will probably be at least 10 percent below
The dry spell touched all long-rains
agricultural areas except Western and Coast Provinces, Kericho District
in Rift Valley Province, and the more elevated, highly productive districts
of Nyanza Province, where crops are in good condition (figure 4). In most
of the affected areas, the maize crop can recover if rains pick up in June.
In the important Rift Valley
maize-producing districts of Nandi, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, and Trans Nzoia, however, early planted maize will have lower yields because dry conditions prevented farmers from applying fertilizer at the appropriate time.
In the less elevated areas of Mwingi,
Makueni, and Kitui Districts in Eastern Province, drought stress has been
harsh enough that a significant reduction in output is likely, especially
for late-planted maize. Farm households in these districts are already
dependent on outside assistance, and they will require continued support
if production is significantly below
Although it has not rained in the northern
and eastern pastoral districts since the first week of May, pastures and
water availability remain good. Maize prices have fallen following relief
maize distributions by the Government of Kenya and by nongovernmental organizations,
and livestock prices have risen as pastoralists offer fewer and healthier
for sale. Terms of trade for pastoralists thus continue to improve.
In the southern pastoral districts of
Narok and Kajiado, the weather has been unfavorable and pasture conditions
Goat and cattle prices are less than one-half and one-fourth their respective average levels, which has greatly reduced
pastoralists' purchasing power.
Although there has been a clear improvement in conditions in some pastoral areas, recovery from droughts in the three previous seasons is far from complete, and ongoing relief interventions are still warranted.