Kilifi County is classified under “Stressed” (IPC Phase 2) of food security classification with localized areas such as Ganze (Bamba, Ganze and Sokoke), Kaloleni (Kayafungo and Mwanamwinga) and Magarini (Marafa, Adu and Garashi) in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The county is facing food consumption gaps with about 70 percent of the households falling under borderline and poor food consumption. The mean coping strategy index is at 9.64 with marginal mixed farming and food cropping livelihood zones scoring the highest CSI of 11.5 and 12.4 respectively. The proportion of children at risk of malnutrition by MUAC was critical at 12.8 percent. The GAM rate was at 4.7 percent Food security in Kilifi County was affected by three consecutive below average rainfall seasons.
During the short rains, low crop production as a result of delayed onsets, poor distribution and early cessation of the rainfall, especially in the mixed farming and food cropping areas, have continued to affect availability of food at household level. There was near total crop failure specifically for maize, cowpeas and cassava, significantly reducing household food stocks to approximately two percent of stocks normally held. As a result, there is increased household reliance on market supplies. Diminishing tropical livestock units and livestock deaths have also continued to impede purchasing power and limiting household food access.
All markets were functioning normally without any disruptions and all food commodities available in the markets despite higher than normal food prices and below average livestock prices. Sale of crop is the main source of income in the mixed farming and food cropping livelihood zone while sale of livestock is the main source of income in the ranching and marginal mixed farming livelihood.
Access to water is limited since open water sources have dried up and households are now depending on boreholes and water trucking. Distance to available water sources increased to 2 – 15 kilometers in all livelihood zones except in the food cropping areas. The cost of water is high and in addition to increased distances has led to reduced water consumption at household level.
Water consumption is six and 10 liters/person/day compared to 15 – 20 liters/person/day normally in both the marginal mixed farming and in the ranching livelihood zones.
Household milk consumption ranged between 0.5 – 1 litres compared to the normal of two litres at this time of the year. Household food consumption in the county remained relatively stable across the livelihood zones. However, in marginal mixed farming zone the percent of households at borderline was at 46.7 while in ranching (livestock farming) zone at least 20 percent of the households had poor dietary diversification. Mixed farming, cash cropping and food cropping zones had at least 60 percent of the households with acceptable dietary diversification. On coping strategy, in marginal mixed farming and livestock farming zones, households employed more coping strategies than the rest of the livelihood zones.
The factors affecting food security in the county include, poor rainfall performance which has been below normal in three consecutive seasons, poor livestock body conditions affecting terms of trade, increasing food prices limiting households access to food supplies, limited milk consumption and high temperatures.