A shortened rainy season impacts cropping activities and pastoral resource availability
The short rains (October – December) were characterized by a late onset, significant rainfall deficits in the east, and early cessation. This has shortened the growing season for the majority of southeastern marginal cropping areas and led to below-average forage regeneration in affected pastoral zones. While the rains have led to some improvements, moving more pastoral areas to Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes still persist in Isiolo and parts of Tana River.
In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, wage labor, while below average, is facilitating needed market purchases. However, it is likely the maize and bean harvests will be below average. The majority of poor households are expected to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the February harvest. In many of the pastoral areas, livestock productivity has increased, improving income and food availability. These improvements are projected to continue, except in Isiolo and additional parts of Tana River, where poor households are likely to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2018.
Despite higher food availability from the long rains harvests from the high and medium-producing areas in western Kenya and the Rift Valley, wholesale staple food prices in the urban markets of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Eldoret remain 8 – 32 percent above average. There continues to be high market demand due to depleted household stocks, outstripping the local supply. The above-average prices continue to constrain poor household food access.