Kenya: The 2019 Long Rains Mid-Season Food and Nutrition Security Review Report - August 2019

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I. Introduction

The Food and Nutrition Security Assessment (FNSA) is a multi-agency, multi-sectoral exercise led by the government of Kenya, and is conducted in 23 arid and semi-arid Counties. Given the bimodal rainfall pattern in Kenya, and the importance of rainfall to food security, the assessments are conducted bi-annually after every season: the short rains (October-December) and the long rains (March-May). The 2019 Long Rains Assessment was conducted between 7 th and 20th July 2019 by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) in collaboration with the County Steering Groups (CSGs). The KFSSG is a multi-agency body comprised of government departments, UN agencies and NGOs concerned with food and nutrition security and is chaired by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and co-chaired by the World Food Programme.

II. Objective

The overall objective of the assessment was to determine the extent and impact of the 2019 long rains on food and nutrition security in 23 ASAL counties, considering the cumulative effects of previous seasons and other shocks and hazards which affect food security.

III. Methodology

The analysis focused on acute food insecurity, although chronic issues with a direct impact on acute food insecurity were also considered. The assessment was based on the four pillars of food security – food availability, access, utilization and stability – and looked at the contributing factors and outcomes and the effects on each sector. The assessment also identified interventions to address the issues arising in each sector: agriculture, livestock, water, health and nutrition, education, peace and security, and markets and trade.

The assessment covered the 23 counties that comprise the arid and semi-arid region of Kenya, and which are generally the most food insecure given their levels of aridity and vulnerability.
The area covers over 80 percent of Kenya’s landmass, and is classified into various livelihood zones grouped into five broad clusters; Pastoral North-West; comprising Turkana, Samburu and Marsabit; Pastoral North-East, comprising Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Tana River and Mandera;
South-East Marginal Agriculture, comprised of Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, and Meru; Coastal Marginal Agriculture, comprising Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Lamu; and the Agro-pastoral cluster of Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, West Pokot, Laikipia and the northern part of Nyeri county (Kieni sub-county). The main livelihood activities in these clusters are Pastoralism, Agro-pastoralism, Mixed Farming, Marginal Mixed Farming and some Irrigated Cropping, and these form the unit of analysis.

The assessment involved the collection of both primary and secondary data. The principal sources were: (i) the NDMA’s drought early warning and monitoring system; (ii) data collected from the relevant sectors at county and sub-county level; (iii) community interviews and market interviews using focus group discussions and trader interviews; (iv) secondary data from nutrition surveys (SMART surveys); (v) field observations during transect drives; and (vi) agro-climatic data from FEWS NET.

The Acute Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) was used for the analysis. The IPC is a standard global tool for classifying the severity of food insecurity and ensures that best practice is being applied. IPC Acute Malnutrition analysis was also carried out to understand both the food and non-food causes of malnutrition.