This report presents the key findings of a food security assessment that was carried out in the county between 16th and 20th of January 2017 jointly by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) and the County Steering Group (CSG).
Based on the findings the county is classified in the stressed phase (Phase II) of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification with an approximated 21 percent of the population projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance over the next six months.
In terms of consumption; 45, 34 and 21 percent of the population had acceptable, borderline and poor food consumption scores respectively. Meal frequency was 2 - 3 times a day in the pastoral zones and three times a day in the mixed farming and marginal mixed farming livelihood zones, which is normal. Households in the mixed farming zone mainly consumed at least 4 food groups, while those in the marginal mixed farming and pastoral zones consumed at least 2 - 3 food groups a day. The mean coping strategy index was 4.41 implying that most households were frequently engaged in consumption-based coping strategies.
During the short rains season, production systems were affected by poor performance of the rains, above-normal temperatures during the day and below-normal temperatures during the night, occasionally leading to frost, unprecedentedly high number of livestock migrating into the county from; Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo and West Pokot Counties.
The impact of the above has been felt differently across the food security indicators and livelihood zones. A near total crop failure is expected across the county and the available maize stock held at household level is expected to last for four months compared with eight normally.
Livestock body condition is generally fair and the available forage is expected to last for 1−2 months compared with four normally. Milk production in the pastoral livelihood zone has declined by half following earlier than normal migration of livestock in search of pasture.
Markets operated normally and were well provisioned with both food and non-food items. The terms of trade (ToT) were favourable for pastoralists. The average price of maize (cereals) has been on the decline since September 2016. Farmers were able to acquire more grains from livestock sales and income from casual labour and petty trade/business until January 2017 when the government through the national cereals and produce board(NCPB) intervened by rising the benchmark price of a 90 kg bag to Ksh.3,000. The short rains did not adequately recharge the water facilities and the average water consumption per day has reduced from 21 to 14 litres. The water levels in the rivers are low and various water service providers have embarked on water rationing, while the waiting time at the water sources has increased from the normal 20 minutes to 28 minutes.
Food insecurity situation is projected to decline in the next three months up to April when the onset of the long rains is expected to trigger recharge of water facilities and regeneration of pasture and browse.