Kenya Key Message Update, March 2018
Early onset of long rains driving crop production activities and rangeland resource regeneration
The March – May long rains began atypically early countrywide and with significantly above-average amounts, upwards of 145 percent of the long-term averages. The rains are welcomed after the extended dry season in many eastern areas of the country, improving water availability, but have also led to flooding. In Kajiado, Makueni, and Kilifi, flooding destroyed property, displaced households, and caused approximately five deaths, mostly children.
The late February to mid-March rainfall in pastoral areas is beginning to drive forage regeneration, and livestock body conditions are likely to improve by late March. As a result, this is expected to increase milk production and livestock prices. For now, livestock, especially cattle, still remain in the dry-season grazing areas, except in Marsabit, where pastoralists have been able to move them to the wet-season grazing areas near homesteads.
In the marginal agricultural areas, land preparation activities began in early March and planting is already ongoing due to the sufficient and consistent rains. However, additional flooding remains a concern given the short-term forecast, which could negatively affect production. The increase in on-farm labor opportunities is facilitating needed market food purchases, following below-average production and low household stocks. The majority of poor households in these areas are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
Due to conflict in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, about 10,000 refugees have recently fled into Marsabit’s Moyale Sub-County, and there is the potential there could be additional influxes. According to the Marsabit County Steering Group and humanitarian agencies operating within the County, this population is in urgent need of food assistance. FEWS NET will continue to monitor the situation.