The 2012 long and short rain seasons showed mixed results with the “long rains” season recording fewer rainy days compared to the “short rain” season. Moreover, the long rains was more erratic with some regions experiencing very high rains leading to flush floods while other parts of the country such as lower parts of Eastern and the Coastal strip experiencing very little rains. In general, however, the 2012 rains were better in terms of temporal and spatial distribution compared 2011.
Arising from the above pattern of rainfall distribution coupled with several food security interventions that were carried out by the Ministry in collaboration with stakeholders, the 2012 long and short rains crop production was expected to improve. Field reports received during the long and short rain seasons indicated marked improvement in production of most food crop. However, the reports also indicated potential threats to improved production including effects of the Maize Lethal Necrotic Disease, excessive rains that affected mainly beans production, increased cost of farming that affected mainly wheat farmers and low accessibility to subsidized fertilizers.
With regards to food security, owing to improved crop production, the year 2012 was expected to be better than 2011. The threats that were however reported included inadequate storage resulting in higher post harvest losses, low grain purchasing by NCPB, high wheat and wheat products prices, and poor food distribution network in food deficit regions (ASALs).
By end of 2012, therefore, it was obvious that while crop production and supplies of major food staples had generally improved, the exact situation with regards to national food security needed clarification. In view of this, the Department of Crops Management in collaboration with the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) carried out national food security assessment from 11th to 24th February, 2013.