Kenya

Kajiado District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, November 2009

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Situation overview

- The enhanced OND rains expected to trigger meaningful recovery did not occur, with the rains remaining erratic, poorly distributed and sometimes torrential in Isenya, Meto, Mailua and Oldoinyo Orok in Namanga; Bisel Location in Central and upper Ngong. Mbirikani, Kimana and entonet in Loitokitok district received below average rainfall, while high potential areas of Loitokitok had moderate rainfall. Other areas remained dry.

- Water was available in pans and dams, in areas that received rains while boreholes, piped water, shallow wells were the main sources of water, for livestock and domestic use.

- Pasture condition, availability and accessibility remained poor in most areas, and pastoralists continued to purchase hay (Ksh 250-300), bran and other feed supplements to augment the shortfall. In areas that received rains, regeneration started in earnest but heavy clustering of livestock negated the regeneration of pasture and in some areas resident cattle had to move out to allow for the influx. these include, Bissel, Isenya,Meto, Sholinke, Oldoinyo Orok, rombo and Central Loitokitok

- Livestock body condition in the three districts remained poor for cattle and cases of deaths (estimated at 30-40%) were reported, reducing herd sizes. Sheep and goats body condition was fair as result of regeneration of browse. Sale of meat in the local butcheries was affected by the poor condition, and butchers were importing cattle from as far as Nyanza and Western Provinces.

- There was massive immigration of livestock in to the district, especially from Tanzania, Coast and the neighboring districts.

- Average cattle prices increased by 11.79 per cent from Ksh4,043 in October to Ksh4,520 in November. The price was below long term average by 57 per cent. The observed trend was attributed to decline in supply to the markets as farmers were holding back their livestock anticipating livestock improvement. Most farmers migrated to areas that received rainfall.

- There were no food stocks left in households in the crop growing areas as result of the crop failure (3 seasons), resulting in imports of cereals and pulses in these areas outside the district. The ban of cross border imports exacerbated the deficits. Maize and beans prices were at Ksh 42 and Ksh 80 per kg respectively.

- Crop performance was poor and maize and beans planted this season started experiencing water stress in the marginal rain-fed crop growing areas. However, crops in the high potential areas of Ngong and Loitokitok were in good condition.

- EMOP relief food operation experienced serious food pipeline break and November/December 2009 food is not expected to be available until January 2010.

- The nutrition status of children 1- 5 years of age was on the decline as children increasingly fed on cereals (maize and maize flour) than on their traditional diet of milk. During the month under review children rated at the risk of malnutrition (based on the Mid Upper Arm Circumference -MUAC < 135mm) increased slightly to 14.97 from 14.93 in October.

- Charcoal burning and sand harvesting was on upward trend as an alternative source of income as the effects of the recent drought persist while demand for labor improved owing to the onset of planting season. The rates ranged between Ksh70 and 100.