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

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Executive Summary

The county is classified in the stressed food security phase (IPC Phase 2). Households in mixed farming livelihood zone were worse off in terms of food consumption score compared to those in marginal mixed farming livelihood zones as; 18 percent were at poor, 29 at borderline and 53 percent at acceptable. Coping strategy index rose to 1.6 from 1.4 between November and December, 14.3 percent rise. Households were employing coping mechanism more frequently during the month. Some of the coping mechanisms employed were purchase of food on credit, borrowing from friends and relatives, remittances, gifts, consumption of less preferred, less frequency and consumption of cheaper foods.
Based on the forecasted depressed short rains, the area under rain-fed agriculture decreased and consequently low production was realized. Maize production was below 20 percent in both livelihood zones. Currently the Maize stocks held at households are 56 percent of long-term average (LTA). This was aggravated by the poor performance of the previous season. Food mainly accessed from own production would be affected and households will rely on markets.
Pasture condition was fair in the Mixed Farming and poor in the Marginal Mixed farming livelihood zone. The pastures were expected to last for a period of one month in mixed farming and two weeks in marginal mixed farming zones, which is below normal of two months and one month respectively.
The purchasing power at the household level was being eroded, as maize prices were 10 percent higher than the long-term average due to low supply coupled with high demand as majority of households were depending on markets for food supplies. Trade volume for the sheep had increased leading to poor prices as the supply outweighs the demand. More farmers are selling their livestock in order to meet their household needs. Milk consumption at household level remains normal;0.5litres in marginal mixed farming and 1litre in mixed farming livelihood zone.
Some source of water have already dried up, leading to water rationing which has adversely affected the water consumption and cost. Household water consumption decreased from normal consumption of 25 liters per person per day to between 15-20 liters per person per day in mixed farming livelihood zone and 5-10 liters per person per day in marginal mixed farming livelihood zone. Distance to watering points for livestock increased by 25 percent and was expected to increase with time. Watering frequency was normal at once a day for cattle though it was projected to deteriorate. The average price of a kilogram of maize was Ksh. 39 being 10 percent lower than the LTA; this was attributed to adequate supplies from the neighboring counties, however the prices are expected to increase due low production.
Poor food availability and access affected nutrition status negatively.. Nutrition status of children under five years was stable. However; the trend is likely to deteriorate as household food stocks are depleted. Diarrhoea cases among children increased due to poor sanitation, unhygienic practices because of water scarcity.