Kenya Food Security Outlook, October 2017 to May 2018
Food security outcomes expected to improve through May 2018
- Following at least two consecutive poor rainy seasons, food security needs are expected to peak in October 2017 as food and income sources are below-average across the majority of pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected through early December in areas of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Samburu, and Laikipia, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. However, an improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes is expected across all pastoral areas in early 2018; however, some of the most vulnerable households are still likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
- Over the western half of the country, off-season rains since July have led to significant improvements in forage, water, and livestock body conditions, which has allowed for terms of trade to be above average in Turkana and West Pokot, facilitating greater food access. While there are some regional variations in the forecast, the short rains (October – December) and long rains (March – May) are expected to lead to better livestock productivity and crop production.
- Nearly complete harvesting of the long rains maize crop in the high and medium-producing areas is likely to be about 10 percent below average, but is still helping to improve food availability countrywide and moderate staple food price increases, especially since the Government of Kenya’s maize subsidy program stopped at the end of October. Regardless, staple food prices and maize imports are expected to remain above five-year averages through May 2018 due to atypically high demand.
- Based on the forecasted average to below-average rainfall for the area, the short rains harvest in the marginal agricultural areas may be slightly below normal. Regardless, short-cycle crops, available from December, are expected to restore depleted household stocks. With less market dependence and improved incomes through crop sales, food consumption and nutrition levels are expected to increase, facilitating improved food security outcomes.