Garissa County is classified to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with a majority of the households having minimally adequate food consumption but unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures. Parts of the pastoral livelihood zones in areas of Ijara/ Hulugho, Dadaab,
Balambala and Lagdera sub counties are classified in the Crisis (IPC Phase 3) phase having significant food consumption gaps, high and above usual acute malnutrition and experiencing adverse effects of drought on water and pasture availability. The formal employment livelihood zone remains in the Minimal (IPC Phase 1) phase of food insecurity. A significant proportion of households (17%) have poor food consumption with a significant proportion of households employing coping strategies (20%) across the pastoral and agro – pastoral livelihood zones.
Moreover, food availability is on the decline owing to the reduction in maize production by 20 percent with household food stocks expected to last only for two weeks compared to normal of two months. Outward migration of 50 percent of cattle coupled with increased trekking distances of up to 30km and poor pasture condition resulted in significant decline in household milk production and milk consumption which currently is 0.5 litres compared to 3 litres normally.
Majority of households (60 –70%) are experiencing limited food access. Declining livestock prices and a stable food commodity prices resulting in erosion of households’ purchasing power by 23 percent were the major causes. The decrease in livestock prices was linked to low demand for livestock and poor body condition. In addition, increased distances to water source for domestic use resulted into decline in water consumption to 10 -–15 litres per person per day. The prices on milk also increased by 40 percent to Ksh 70 further compounding household food access. However, food is available in the market.
Food utilization was poor, driven by the increased disease occurrences and poor dietary intake. It is likely to deteriorate further, increasing food insecurity of individuals and households. There was an increase in morbidity for children under five years of age (4 - 9 percent) and for adults (6 – 35 percent) reducing their capacity to absorb required macro and micronutrients from consumed food. Due to reducing food consumption and dietary diversity the proportion of children at risk of malnutrition was 30 percent above average in December.
The major contributing factors to food insecurity in the county include; poor performance of the short rains which were 50 percent of normal, low demand for livestock in the markets, high food commodity prices and decrease in prices of livestock.