Makueni County: 2016 Short Rains Food Security Assessment Report (February 2017)

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The county is classified under Stressed Phase (IPC Phase 2). Approximately 20 percent of the households had a borderline or poor food consumption score. The poor performance of the short rains season has seen a decline in food stocks at household level to 25 percent of normal hence contributing to high food prices: ranging at Ksh. 38 – 45 for maize compared to a normal of Ksh. 35 – 40. Decreasing livestock prices also contributed to reducing the economic ability to purchase food. The number of children under-five years who were underweight increased to 5.16 percent on average between July to December 2016 compared to 4.39 percent during a similar period in 2015. Other hazards experienced were quelea birds’ infestation at Kibwezi East and Kibwezi West, livestock diseases as noted by cases of FMD in Kathonzweni and limited access to water. A majority of households dedicated more than half of their total expenditure to food.
The expected production was 11 and 52 percent of the long-term average (LTA) for maize and cowpeas respectively. Two-thirds of the households had no food stocks and were therefore depending on markets. Milk production and consumption per household was two and one litres respectively compared to the LTA production of three and two litres respectively. The current waged– labour rate ranged between Ksh. 200-300. For most households in the marginal mixed farming livelihood zone, the meal frequency had reduced from three to one for adults and from three to two meals for the children. Most households have resulted to taking less preferred foods and have also reduced portion sizes.
The average Tropical Livestock Units (TLUs) were at 2– 3 which was below normal. There was in-migration of livestock from Kajiado to Nguu in the marginal mixed livelihood zone in search of pasture.