Malindi and Magarini Districts: Drought Monthly Bulletin, December 2009

Situation Report
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Situation overview

- The month under review usually marks the end of the short rains season in the district. An average of 69.5mm of rain was received in December 2009 compared to 216mm in November, representing a 67.8% reduction. Most of the rain was received in the hinterlands of the district.

- Further improvement in the condition and availability of pasture and natural vegetation for livestock during the month across all livelihood zones was seen during the month. Consequently, the average distance to the nearest grazing fields reduced by 14.7% i.e. from 3.4km in November to 2.9km.

- The average return distance to the nearest community water sources increased from 1.4km in November to 2.5km owing to reduced amounts of rains received during the month under review. Most seasonal streams which are close to settlements were not able to recharge with adequate amounts of rain water.

- Livestock body condition continued to improve during the month owing to reduced distances to grazing fields and water sources across all livelihood zones. Improved livestock body condition was more evident in small stock than in large stock.

- Households displaced by flash floods in October were still living in IDP camps in Fundissa location. Only a few had gone back to their villages.

- An upsurge in tourist numbers (domestic and international) in Malindi district during the festive season had a positive impact on general food security of tourism depended households.

- The average daily milk production by sampled households across the district improved due to availability water and pasture and decreased distances to water and pasture sources. More milk was produced in the livestock farming zone compared to the mixed farming zone.

- Food crops along the coastal belt wilted beyond possible rejuvenation due to poor rains. However, crops in other parts of the mixed farming zone were in silking and milking stages. More rains are needed to take them to maturity stage.

- The average cattle price increased by 23.6% during the month from Ksh7,394 in November to Ksh 9142 while that of goats rose from Ksh983 in November to Ksh1,015. The increase in the livestock prices could be attributed to a high demand for animals during the December holiday/festive season.

- Daily household milk consumption increased by 124% i.e. from 31 bottles of 750ml capacity in November to 69.5 bottles of the same capacity in December owing to increased production.

- Average district maize price rose marginally from Ksh37 in November to Ksh38.40. This was attributed to dwindling long rains maize stocks at household level. Prices were higher in the livestock farming zone and lower in the mixed farming zone.

- Casual labour was the major source of income for many households across all livelihood zones, followed by sale of charcoal and livestock. More livestock was sold in December 2009 compared to the previous month i.e. 42 heads of cattle, 226 goats and 125 poultry compared to 10 heads of cattle, 113 goats and 106 poultry in November 2009.

- There was a further reduction in the number of children who were at risk of malnutrition during the month, from 12.3% in November 2009 to 11.2% in December 2009. This scenario was attributed to an improving food security situation across all livelihood zones