FEWS Kenya Food Security Update: Mar 2001


1. Food Security Conditions and Prospects

The onset of the critical and much-awaited long-rains season has brought widespread relief to the majority of the drought-affected households and could activate the recovery for most pastoralists. In contrast, farm households in arable lands have already experienced a marked improvement in their food security situation, following a favorable short-rains season. Prospects for continued recovery depend heavily on favorable long rains in 2001and subsequent seasons.

Figure 1 shows the relative importance of the long-rains season in the arable areas of the country based on the percent contribution of long-rains maize and beans production to annual production.

2. National Trends

Key food security indicators remained depressed in the severely drought-affected pastoral districts, unlike in the arable areas during March. Declining livestock productivity, low livestock prices, alarmingly high rates of child malnutrition, and sustained insecurity have continued to undermine the pastoral economy. In contrast, farm households in most arable areas have reported increases in food availability, leading to substantial marketable surpluses. However, rapid sale of newly harvested produce at low prices is likely to undermine the improvement in the food security of marginal agricultural farm households who, until recently, were severely drought-affected.

3. National Level - Ongoing and Proposed Interventions

Coordinated GoK, UN agencies’, and NGOs’ responses to food insecurity in the worst-affected areas of the country are likely to be adversely affected by a break in the pipeline after the March distributions are completed. However, WFP is optimistic that donors such as the United States, Canada, Germany, and the GoK will confirm pledges and expedite deliveries, which should mitigate the anticipated shortfall. Nevertheless, pastoralist food needs remain substantial, at least up to December, raising the need for increased pledges and deliveries.

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