The assessment was conducted by representatives from the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) in conjunction with Lamu County Steering Group (CSG). Assessments are conducted bi-annually after the long rains (March-April-May) and the short rains (October-December). The main objective is to conduct an objective, evidence-based and transparent food security situation analysis following the Long Rains Season of 2019, in Lamu county, considering the cumulative effect of previous seasons, and to provide recommendations for possible response options based on the situation analysis.
Rainfall performance and insecurity were the main drivers of food security. The onset of the long rains was late by four dekads, the total rainfall received for the season was 261mm compared to 285mm for the long-term average. Spatial and temporal distribution was fair. Cessation was on the 3rd dekad of December which was normal. This performance led to increased acreage of farmland under crops. Maize stocks both at the household and traders were below long-term averages, hence upsurge that has driven food prices especially for maize. Milk production and consumption were below normal when compared to long term average.
Food stocks are below normal at household level, expected to last for less than a month in Agro pastoral and mixed farming zones. The mean coping strategy Index increased by 22 percent in July compared to previous month, indicating slight decrease coping strategies at household levels, however 49 and 21percent of the households were employing stress and crisis coping strategies. About 62 percent of the populations have food consumption intake gaps consuming two to three meals per day. Livestock body condition is good to fair for all the species across the livelihood zones. The trekking distances decrease from two to 2.1 Kilometres. The terms of trade (ToT) were favorable where the sale of one medium size goat was exchanging for 106 Kilograms of maize thus improving household food access in Agro pastoral and mixed farming livelihood zone. The proportion of children with a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) less than 135 mm was on an increasing trend indicating worsening in nutrition status. The forage condition was good to fair in all livelihood zones.
The morbidity pattern of the county was within normal range and no outbreak has been reported. The prevalence of URTI was high in the period of February to May 2019 compared to the similar period in 2018 but declining trend from June 2019. Diarrhea and Bilharzia diseases were reported in Bargoni areas due to usage of untreated water during focus group discussion.
The average county latrine coverage was 72 percent with the Agro Pastoral and mixed farming zones accounting for the bulk of the households without latrines.
The factors to be monitored include post-harvest losses, continuous livestock disease surveillance and treatment as well as conflicts between crop and livestock farmers that may arise due to depletion pasture.
The County is classified under “Stressed” (IPC Phase 2) of food security classification with most of the households having minimally in adequate food consumption, engaging in stressed and crisis coping strategies thus unable to afford some essential food and non-food expenditures due to low purchasing powers and the county is expected to slide into IPC phase three.