Below average staple food prices mitigating declining household food availability
The cumulatively below-average March to May short rains across eastern and northern Kenya resulted in below-average crop production activities and associated income from agricultural casual labor activities. In the pastoral areas, below-average regeneration of forage has affected livestock productivity, reflected in declining livestock prices. Below average incomes and household food sources drive mostly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across the country and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in northern Kenya.
As indicated by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), vegetation conditions are over 140 percent of average in north, northwest, southern Kenya, and parts of northeast Kenya (Figure 2). In central and western Kenya, vegetation greenness is 105-130 percent of the average, while eastern Kenya is 75-90 percent of normal, with localized areas along the coast at less than 60 percent of the average. Water availability for livestock across the pastoral areas, apart from Marsabit and Wajir counties, is low and 22-72 percent above average as rangeland resources diminish. This has resulted in increasing livestock migration and declining livestock body condition trends.
Staple food prices across the country showed declining trends due to increases in supply from cross-border imports. Maize prices in May were 11-28 percent above the five-year average in Nyeri, Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa due to increased demand for human and livestock consumption and high marketing costs. Maize prices, however, ranged from average and 9-30 percent below average across all markets stabilized by cross-border imports and availability of some substitutes like cassava. In May, dry bean prices were within the five-year average in Taita Taveta and 9-10 percent below average in Kisumu and Eldoret due to a combination of cross-border imports and available local long rains harvests. Across the rest of the markets, bean prices were 9-22 percent above average, driven by sustained demand and low supplies.
As of June 29, Kenya has 183,603 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a seven-day rolling average of 534 daily confirmed COVID-19 cases. On June 17, due to the detection of three new COVID-19 variants and a steady increase in confirmed daily cases, thirteen counties in western Kenya were placed under additional containment measures, including longer curfew hours, a 30-day closure of nonfood and livestock markets, and the prohibition of public functions and gatherings. Across the rest of the country, the previous restrictions continue. The COVID-19 restrictions are driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes among the urban poor as below-average access to income results in households engaging in unsustainable coping strategies to bridge income and food consumption gaps.