The county is classified in the Stressed Phase (IPC Phase 2). Majority of the population had an acceptable food consumption score and an estimated 17.4 percent employed food consumption– based coping strategies; relying on less preferred or less expensive food, limiting meal portions and reducing the number of meals.
In the pastoral zone, milk was available but production had reduced by half to one litre per household per day. Forage for livestock was available in the grazing reserves though the quantities were expected to last for one month compared to three months normally. The migration of livestock into the county is likely to accelerate depletion of pastures, deterioration of animal body conditions and reduction in milk production. The available maize stocks were inadequate and constituted of food reserves held by national cereals and produce board, stocks held by traders as well as millers. All these stocks totaled to18 percent of normal.
Food was accessible in the markets but acquisition was compromised by low and diminishing purchasing power. The terms of trade as calculated by the number of kilos of maize one can purchase from the proceeds of the sale of a goat was lower than normal by 13 percent. Besides the sale of livestock, other sources of income to purchase food included: casual labor, petty trade, employment, gifts and remittances.
According to a SMART survey conducted in January 2017, nutrition situation in the county has deteriorated from serious to critical level. Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) increased to 18.2 percent (CI 14.6 - 22.5) from 12.3 percent (CI 9.6 - 15.8) reported in 2016. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) also increased to 3.3 percent from 1.2 percent during the same period. Meal consumption was two to three times a day and constituted of cereals, milk, pulses, vegetable and occasionally meat. Water for domestic use was generally available and communities were able to access 10-15 litres per person per day which is normal. However, households in Sericho,
Oldonyiro and Modogashe were consuming 7-10 litres as a result of breakdown of boreholes making communities to rely on unprotected wells along Ewaso Nyiro River.
The main food security driver in the county was poor performance of the short rains that led to near total crop failure, inadequate regeneration of pasture and browse and below–normal recharge of water facilities. In addition, earlier–than–normal and high numbers of migrating livestock to the reserve grazing areas had increased competition for rangeland resources leading to conflicts and occasioning disruption of access to forage and water.