Kenya: Pastoralists face food insecurity despite rains

NAIROBI, 12 December (IRIN) - Despite recent rains across most of Kenya, drought conditions have persisted in much of the north and east of the country, exacerbating food insecurity for many pastoralist communities in these arid and semi-arid regions, UNOCHA Kenya reported on Wednesday.
Although most of Kenya was predicted to benefit from above average rainfall during December, the northwestern regions in particular would continue to experience generally dry conditions, causing pastoralists to migrate in search of water and grazing lands for their cattle, OCHA said, citing the Nairobi-based Drought Monitoring Centre (DMC).

Uncertain weather conditions would continue to impact on the food security situation in several parts of Kenya, particularly in the pastoralist northern and eastern areas, which are still struggling to recover from the severe droughts of 2000, OCHA said in its situation update for November.

"No real recovery from the drought is guaranteed as yet and deaths are still being reported in Mandera [northeastern Kenya] and even northern Wajir [northeastern Kenya] although there is good grazing in some other locales," the report added.

An assessment of food security in Kenya covering all sectors and livelihood zones is currently being carried out by the Kenya Food Security Meeting (KFSM), and will "shed more light" on the likely food security situation over the coming months, OCHA said.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported in mid-November that its Kenya drought Emergency Operation faced a shortfall of some 60,000 MT of food. The shortfalls were mostly of maize and were likely to have a "negative nutritional impact" despite an increase in rations of other emergency food supplements, the UN food agency said.

Although good rains in many agricultural areas meant farmers had been able to cultivate crops this year, food security for many was still uncertain, largely as a result of post-harvest losses due to ineffective pest control. "Major losses" had occurred and if any more significant losses were suffered there was "no chance of food security", OCHA said, citing the UN Food Assessment Organisation.


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