Kenya Food Security Outlook Update, April 2019


Significantly below-average long rains to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in areas of concern


• The onset of the long rains (March-May) were delayed by at least 10-20 days and cumulative rainfall through April 25th was less than 55 percent of average across most of the country. This delayed agricultural production activities in marginal agricultural areas and depleting rangeland resources in pastoral areas. Recent, significant rainfall amounts in late April are expected to partially replenish forage and water resources, providing relief to pastoral areas and supporting crop production activities of drought-tolerant crops like sorghum, millet, green grams, and cowpeas.

• Persistent dry conditions in pastoral areas has driven atypical migration and declines in livestock body conditions, though recent rainfall is expected to alleviate deterioration in the short-term as water and forage resources become partially replenished. The goatto-maize terms of trade have declined since January, but remained average to above-average in March, which has supported pastoral household food access and maintained Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. However, below-average terms of trade and reduced household income during the July-September dry season, coupled with heightened resource-based conflict, is expected to push some areas into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Tana River, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Baringo, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, and Mandera in August.

• Poor households in marginal agricultural areas still have some household food stocks but face a decline in agricultural labor income due to the impact of delayed and below-average rainfall. Short-cycle and main crop harvests are expected to be at least 50 percent below average and delayed by one month. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in many areas, and a smaller proportion of vulnerable households with limited income sources are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes beginning in August.

• Staple food prices remained below the five-year average in most urban and rural reference markets in March, facilitating average to above-average household food access. This continues to be driven by carryover stocks, recent short rains production, and regional cross-border imports. Maize prices were 22-30 percent below average in urban markets and 13-35 percent below average in marginal agricultural markets. Dry bean prices ranged from near average to 19 percent below average across all markets, but rose eight and 19 percent above average in Eldoret and Kisumu, respectively, due to dependence on high-priced imports.