Kenya Food Security Outlook Update, August 2019


3.1 million expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes by October

Key Messages

  • SMART survey and sentinel site data collected in June and July 2019 by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group[1] indicates that food insecurity has significantly worsened since the May mid-season assessment. 2.6 million people are currently experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, including some households that are likely in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, and Baringo. This represents a 60 percent increase in the food insecure population since May, when 1.6 million people were estimated to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

  • In pastoral areas, below-normal livestock productivity and high food prices are constraining household purchasing power and food access, resulting in food consumption gaps or depletion of livelihoods assets indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Due to poor forage and water availability, livestock trekking distances to water points have doubled in the northeast and atypical livestock migration has led to resource-based conflict. Significant reductions in food intake and milk consumption, together with non-food related causes like disease incidence and poor childcare practices, have contributed to atypically high acute malnutrition. In Laisamis of Marsabit, Turkana South, and Turkana North, Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) reached Extremely Critical (≥30 percent) levels in July.

  • Long rains crop production in marginal agricultural areas was significantly below average to failed. Harvests in southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural zones are an estimated 10-15 and 35-40 percent of the five-year average, respectively. Maize production is 1-10 percent of average, indicative of near to total crop failure. Although poor households are expanding other income sources to partially compensate for lost income from crop sales, household income is significantly below average and household food stocks will be depleted as early as late August. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are widespread and parts of Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), Meru (Meru North), Kitui, and Makueni are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

  • The population in need is anticipated to rise through October, reaching an estimated 3.1 million people at the peak of the pastoral lean season. Some improvements in food security are expected to be driven by the October-December short rains season and availability of the unimodal long rains harvest in November. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to persist as households gradually recover in