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


1.0 Summary of Food and Nutrition Security Conditions

1.1 Overall food and nutrition security situation

The overall food security situation in the ASAL counties deteriorated in the month of May 2019 with more households in crisis phase of IPC classification. The poor performance of the long rains has resulted into poor regeneration of forage and minimal recharge of surface water sources in pastoral livelihood zones. In marginal livelihood zones, crop condition is poor with expected drop in production of more than 60 percent and consequently more food insecure households.

The nutrition situation remains critical in pastoral counties of Turkana and Marsabit and expected to deteriorate across all pastoral livelihood zones owing to expected worsening of food security situation, water and sanitation practices. Agro – pastoral and marginal livelihood counties have shown an increase in children who have Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) of <135mm indicating a worsening nutrition situation. The worsening household food security and diminishing milk availability will further contribute to increase in malnutrition.

The below normal rainfall performance coupled with poor temporal and uneven distribution has affected crop production in the agropastoral and marginal agriculture livelihood zones, with all areas reporting expected production of less than 40 percent.

Moreover, cereal prices have increased in all livelihood zones by 15 – 30 percent between April and May and are above the five-year average. However, markets are well provisioned with supplies from maize growing areas. Food consumption and dietary diversity have been affected with more households in the poor food consumption group compared to February 2019.

Livestock body condition is good to fair for browsers and grazers respectively across all areas but expected to deteriorate. Both intra and inter county migrations have been reported mainly in search of pasture in most of the pastoral counties and is earlier than expected. Fair to poor forage condition was observed in both pastoral and marginal agricultural livelihood areas. The late onset and poor temporal distribution resulted into inadequate regeneration of forage and is expected to last up to end of July. Consequently, milk production has declined to between 30 and 50 percent of the five-year average in pastoral counties. Similarly, milk consumption has declined by same margin. Terms of trade have remained favorable for pastoralists, given stable livestock prices and good livestock body condition, with households able to purchase more maize from the sale of a goat compared with the long-term average. However, the favorable terms of trade did not impact positively on household food security as there were limited livestock for sale.

Access to water remain a challenge across all the livelihood zones owing to poor recharge of surface water sources. Most of the water pans are dry and over 40 percent of the population in pastoral counties are currently relying on boreholes. Distances for both livestock and domestic water have increased and are between 50 and 100 percent of normal (7 – 9 km) in pastoral counties of Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit and Wajir. Water consumption has declined to 6 – 10 litres per person per day in most pastoral counties. The water situation is expected to worsen in the next one month as the remaining surface water sources dry up and further exerting pressure on boreholes.

According to the acute food insecurity IPC analysis and classification, the food security situation has worsened in May 2019 compared with February 2019. More households now face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity levels. In the pastoral north-west (Turkana, Samburu & Marsabit) and north-east (Wajir, Garissa, Tana River & Isiolo) counties, more households are in both Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3&4) food insecurity phase. In the south-eastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, and agro-pastoral areas of West Pokot, Laikipia and Kajiado, populations are largely stressed (IPC phase 2) but have some households in crisis (IPC Phase 3). It is estimated that 1.6 million people are in Crisis and the number is expected to reach over 2 million by July 2019. The most affected counties are; Turkana, Marsabit, Baringo (East Pokot), Wajir, Garissa, Tana river and Isiolo.