Kenya

Kitui District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, February 2006

Attachments

Situation Overview.

Marginal Agricultural Livelihood Zone (Central, Mutonguni, Chuluni, Matinyani)

The month was dry and hot

Quality of forage is poor

Distances to water points remained the same

Body condition of livestock is poor

No major disease outbreaks were reported

Prices of both shoats and cattle declined

Nutritional status for children worsened

Agricultural Pastoral LZ (Mutomo, Mutitu, Yatta, Mutha, Ikutha)

Quality of forage ranges from poor to fair

Distances to watering points are stable but long -about 8 Kms in Mutomo & Ikutha

Quality of water is poor - saline

Cattle prices plummeted

Body condition of cattle is stable

The body conditions of shoats is good and improving

Both cereal and pulse prices went up

ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS

1.1 Rainfall

The month of February remained dry and quite hot.

1.2 Forage

The quality of forage ranges from poor to fair save for private ranches were the situation is good though deteriorating. The quantities are inadequate and diminishing by the day.

The trend is negatively affecting food security prospects in the district.

1.3 Access to water

No rains were received during the period under review and the distances to water points remained with the previous months ranges. The department of water under the disaster response has been undertaking water tracking to institutions of learning to avoid premature closures. This operation has not been without problems, the status of the roads is poor and the bowser often keeps on breaking. The situation will only improve if the long rains do well.

2.0 RURAL ECONOMY

2.1 Livestock Body Conditions

The body condition of shoats is good with no signs of weakening whereas that of cattle varies from one area to the other. In the marginal agricultural livelihood zone the situation is worse in Mutonguni division and the transitional locations of central and Chuluni divisions- farmers normally use maize stover to supplement pastures but with the poor short rains performance the crop wilted upon germination. There are fears that with the onset of rains some livestock losses will be incurred due to deaths. Elsewhere in the agro-pastoral zone the body conditions range from fair to good. The trend is not normal.

Pasture has become very scarce.

2.2 Livestock Health

No major livestock disease outbreaks were reported. However, the district has been alerted about an outbreak of anthrax in Mwingi south and a potential outbreak of CBPP in areas bordering Tana River where livestock have in-migrated from as far as Garissa.

Owing to trade our animals are likely to contract these notifiable diseases thus the need to carry out vaccinations before they strike.

2.3 Livestock Prices

Prices of both shoats and cattle plummeted. In the case of cattle this attributed to the livestock off-take that was being carried out in the district to cushion farmers from drought related losses. This lowered the prices in the sense that farmers concentrated on the weak animals whose value was low. The mature stock of shoats is fast depleting and farmers are resorting to selling immature stocks to meet the ever increasing need for money to purchase food. The trend again is not normal; it's the first time a livestock offtake was conducted in the district and two short rains rarely fail to regenerate pastures as they did last season.

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