Kenya

Meru North District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, December 2009

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Situation overview

- Rains were reported in most parts of the district during the first week of the month. Spatial and temporal distribution was fair.

- Pasture and browse improvement was noted in all livelihood zones. Enhancement of pasture in the Agro-pastoral livelihood was as a result of inaccessibility due to insecurity in the area. This zone did not receive substantive amounts of rainfall.

- Cattle rustling and banditry were reported in the Northern Grazing Area similar to the last month mainly at Kamweline, Mea, Kachiuru, Kalimbene, lower parts of Maburwa, and Gambella.

- Average distances to grazing areas remained low at 5.4 km compared to 4.2 km the previous month. Traditional grazing areas were inaccessible, forcing herders to graze on the outer edges of the Agro-pastoral zone. Availability of water in grazing zones also reduced distances.

- Livestock from Isiolo district was still grazing in the district similar to the previous month, indicating poor pasture and insecurity in the district. However, their presence is likely to increase competition for pasture and watering places and also pose risk of spreading CBPP.

- General improvement in livestock body conditions was noted in all livelihoods, with shoats ranging from good to fair while cattle and camels had fair conditions.

- Natural rivers and streams remained the main sources of water for livestock and households. Rehabilitated boreholes, water pans, and natural depressions were also important alternative sources. Average distances to water sources for households remained low at 3.3 km compared to 3 km the previous month.

- Cattle prices declined this month to Ksh4,739 from Ksh6,000 the previous month. Most sales were made in the Agro-pastoral zone, depicting desperation as there were no food stocks at household level.

- Average goat prices appreciated marginally to Ksh1,739 from Ksh1,638 the previous month, while those of sheep declined to Ksh1,000 from Ksh1,233 the previous month due to shifts in preference by consumers.

- No changes in maize prices were noted during the month as prices averaged at Ksh34 similar to last month. Beans prices decreased slightly to Ksh68 from Ksh70 the previous month.

- The nutrition status of children below five years declined during the month, with the percentage of those rated at risk of malnutrition rising to 21.2% compared to17.9 per cent the previous month.