Kenya

Makueni District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, December 2006

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GENERAL OVERVIEW

The district was hot and wet with good rainfall although.

Pastures are plenty but poor in quality.

Farmers are weeding as the crops are flowering/tussling/podding.

Maize and beans are tussling /flowering for those who planted early (November).

Heavy rainfall has led to stunted growth (crops) in some parts of the district.

Water scarcity have ceased following the onset of rains in the district.

Water bodies i.e.rivers, dams and water pans are full due to heavy rains.

Nutritional status for the under fives continued to improve throughout the district.

RURAL ECONOMY INDICATORS (general overview).

Livestock showed an increase in prices except for sheep.

Milk and its products continued to increase in the district.

Most food prices stagnated in the district except for rice and sugar.

HUMAN WELFARE INDICATORS (general overview)

No disease outbreaks reported in the district. There is a risk of water borne diseases due to high levels of water contamination. Pit latrines are sinking in many areas.

1. ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS

1.1 Rainfall

The district remained entirely hot and wet all through. An average of 455mm of rainfall was received in the district since the beginning of the month. Rainfall is well distributed district wide.

This is a normal occurrence during this time of the year.

1.2 Forage Cover (Pasture & Browse)

Pastures continued to improve in the district with more than 90% vegetation cover. Available pastures are poor in quality.

This is a normal occurrence in the district and can be attributed to favourable rainfall.

1.3 Access to Water

- Water sources

Water is readily available in the district. The main water sources in the district are traditional river wells, scooped water holes in river beds, rain harvested water, water pans, boreholes, constructed shallow-wells ( in localised areas), rivers and dams. The available water sources are full.

Return distances from the grazing areas to water sources is rapidly dropping to less than 0.5km in many parts of the district.

This has caused an improvement in livestock body condition.

Distances of households to water points have consequently dropped to less than 0.5kms district wide.

-Implications on food security-:

Farmers are using most of their time in their farms (weeding).This has raised the probability of high food production this season. Livestock have likewise improved in prices due to improved body condition.

Human health is also improving due to shorter distances to water points.

2. RURAL ECONOMY INDICATORS

2.1 Livestock body conditions

Livestock exhibited signs of improvement compared to last month.

Better pastures and shorter distances to water sources have led to higher livestock prices due to improved body condition.

This is a normal occurrence at this time of the year.

2.2 Livestock health

No major livestock disease outbreaks reported except for poultry in many parts of the district