Mwingi District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, August 2006


Situation Overview

Agro-Pastoral Livelihood zone. (Tseikuru, Ngomeni, Kyuso, Mui, Mumoni, Nuu and Nguni There was no rain recorded during the month. Water availability and accessibility worsening in this zone. Households are engaged in bush clearing and opening of new lands. Others are fencing and preparing their land for planting. Few households reported suspected cases of C.C.P.P, anthrax and trypanosomiasis in Tseikuru, Nguni and Nuu Divisions. Livestock body condition for shoats remained good while lactating cattle and the very young shows sign of distress. Poultry mortality reported by many households mainly in Tseikuru Division. Increased sales of livestock specifically goats recorded during the month. Livestock and human out migration in search of casual labour and pastoral resources recorded. Nutritional status of the under fives worsening specifically in Nuu Division.

Mixed farming zone (Central, Migwani, parts of Kyuso and parts of Mui Divisions).

Cold and windy weather characterized the first two weeks of the month. No rain was recorded during the month. Water availability and accessibility worsening specifically in the lower parts of Migwani and upper parts of Mui Division. Livestock body condition remained good for shoats but worsening for large animals and the very young. Sporadic incidences of anthrax were reported in Migwani. Households are busy fencing and preparing their land for planting. Nutritional status of the under fives is worsening.


1.1 Rainfall

No rain was recorded during the month.

1.2 Condition of Natural Vegetation and Pasture.

Quality; Pasture and browse is deteriorating in both zones District wide but the worst affected are Tseikuru, Nguni and Lower parts of Migwani Divisions. Quantity; Pasture availability is inadequate and households are forced to migrate their herds towards Mwingi North Game Reserve and on hills. Others are being taken along the river line and valleys of other seasonal streams. Availability of pasture along the District boundary is a push factor to communities living within and outside the District which is an area of conflict. Some households in the farming zone have conserved some crop residues to be fed to the draught animals during planting and after onset of rain which destroys all available fallen litter.

1.3 Water Sources and Availability

Households depended on traditional dry river beds; shallow wells, bore holes and few rock catchments to access water. Only a few earth dams have water and are attracting crowds of animals and humans. Households along Tana River enjoyed the free flowing turbid water while households along the Kiambere piped water consumed treated piped water from the same river. Earth dams that are known not to dry up are expected to dry up by mid September. This includes Ngomeni and Nzeluni earth dams that dried up last in 1994.

There is a general increase in distance covered to access water as households start use of other available sources. Normally salt less river beds and earth dams are the preferred water sources but during lean period after the sources dry residents are forced to drink any available water. Households in agro pastoral zone are trekking over 10km one way journey to access water. This is common in Ngomeni, Tseikuru, Nguni and parts of both Mui and Migwani (lower parts) Divisions.

1.4 Emerging issues

1.4.1 Conflict:

Conflict that threatened normal activities in Ngomeni, Nguni and Tseikuru Divisions has been calmed. The DSG convened several elders baraza which has seen animosity between the local community and the pastoral community cease for the time being. Communities have been asked to co-exists peacefully and keep peace as they humanly share the available resources without causing harm to each other.

1.4.2 Migration(Human and Livestock)

Livestock migration continued during the month with common destination being towards Tana River basin in Masinga, Machakos District and hilly areas within the District. Central Division and Migwani is the most affected due to their reduced land size and therefore must move their livestock in search of pasture and water.

Few households in Tseikuru and Mumoni have also relocated in the neighboring Tharaka and Meru District in search of food and casual labour. This was reported in Tseikuru and Mumoni Divisions.

1.4.2 Other Factors Likely to Affect Livelihoods

Delay of relief food distribution for the month of August is escalating food insecurity to the targeted households.

1.5 Implications on Food Security.

Rampant out migration of livestock is affecting negatively availability of both animal products like milk and draught labour. Farm preparation in households that has relocated their herd will fail to prepare their land on time which will impact negatively on future food security.

2. Rural Indicators (Food Availability)

2.1 Livestock Production

2.1.1 Livestock body condition

Shoat's body condition remained good during the month. Cattle body condition specifically lactating herd is worsening due to inadequate availability of feeds. The new born are also very weak and are left to feed with their mother throughout the day and nights as there are no delicate pasture to forage on and therefore surviving on milk alone.

2.1.2 Livestock Diseases

Unconfirmed cases of endemic diseases like C.C.P.P were reported in the Northern agro pastoral zone where several households have lost their shoats. Poultry mortality is very common District wide suspected to be caused by respiratory complications. Anthrax occurrence in Tseikuru and Migwani was confirmed and appropriate control measures put in place.

2.1.3 Milk Production

Milk production worsened during the month compared to last month. Average goat milk produced during the month reduced from 0.55 litres recorded last month to 0.36 litres recorded this month. Cow milk production reduced from 0.4 litres to 0.17 litres per household. Milk production herd size is reducing as most goats conceive during the month of May and June so as to kid immediately after onset of rain. Inadequacy of enough pasture for cattle may also explain the low yield.

2.2 Crop Production

2.2.1 Timeliness and Condition of Various Crop Production Activities.

Irrigated crops along permanent water sources specifically tomatoes and vegetables are being sold and consumed. Majority of households are in the early stages of land preparation.

2.2.2 Pests and Diseases

Irrigated vegetables are heavily attacked by aphids. However the number of households engaged in irrigation is insignificant owing to lack of production resources such as irrigation and farm inputs.

2.2.3 Implications on food security.

Majority of households are in dire need of food as there were no harvests realized during the season and the next harvest is expected during the month of Jan/Feb next Year.

3 Access to Food

3.1 Cattle Prices

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