The rapid food security assessments are bi-annual, conducted during the March to May long rains and after the October to December short rains. The 2019 long rains food security assessment (LRA) was conducted by the Kenya Food Security Steering group and covered the Mixed Farming, Marginal Mixed and Cash Cropping/ Dairy Farming livelihood zones of Kilifi County. The main objective of the assessment was to develop an objective, evidencebased and transparent food security situation analysis following the 2019 March to May (MAM) long rains season, taking into account the cumulative effect of previous seasons, and to provide immediate and medium-term recommendations for possible response options based on the situation analysis. The long rains delayed by three weeks instead of the expected first week of April with poor temporal and spatial distribution across the county. Rains ceased as expected in the second dekad of June.
The main drivers to the current food insecurity are human-wildlife conflicts in areas neighbouring Tsavo National Park limiting access to forage and access to domestic water sources and destruction of water pans. Food prices remain high lowering household purchasing power. In-migration of livestock from Tana River may accelerate depletion of pasture. Maize stocks held by farmers in the Cash Cropping/ Dairy farming and Mixed Farming Livelihood zones and are estimated to last for a month but normally last into the next long rains harvest. The total cereal stocks held by farmers is 51 percent below the LTA due to low production realized during the short rains season. However, traders have about 17 percent above the LTA stocks compared to the long-term average due to higher demand as most households are relying on market purchases. Food prices remain high with a kilogram of maize selling at Ksh. 48 compared to the long-term average (LTA) of Ksh. 44 per Kg. The body condition for all livestock species is good across the county. Milk production has stabilized with the households in the Agro-pastoral zone producing 2-3 litres per day and between 5-6 litres per day in the Mixed farming and Cash Cropping/Dairy farming livelihood zone.
Average market goat price in the month of July was Ksh. 4,191 which was 61 percent higher than the LTA of Ksh.2,610. With a sale of a medium-sized goat, a household is able to buy between 87 kilograms of maize instead of the normal 59Kgs of maize. Distances to water sources have declined to less than a kilometre due to good recharge in the Mixed farming zones. However, return distances in the Marginal Mixed zone remain between two and six kilometres which is normal at this time of the year. There has been stability in nutrition status with the proportion of children at risk of malnutrition in the month of June 2019 at 2.9 percent compared to the LTA of four percent. Highest cases of children at risk of malnutrition were reported in Ganze, Magarini and Kaloleni sub counties.
About 86 and 1.9 percent of households have acceptable and poor food consumption score respectively. Most households applied reduced consumption-based coping strategies, of which the mean CSI was 4.03 in July 2019 compared to 2.9 in January 2019 with most households employing reversible strategies. No livelihood change is expected while the crude mortality rate reduced to 0.012 compared to 0.029 recorded in the same period of 2018.
The Mixed farming and the Cash cropping/ Dairy farming livelihood zones has maintained the previous Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity phase while the Marginal Mixed farming zone has improved from the previous Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity phase observed during the short rains assessment.