The long rains food Security assessment was carried out by a team comprising Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) and the Nyeri County Steering Group (CSG). The assessment is a bi-annual exercise carried out after the long and short rains season. The aim of the assessment was to develop an objective, evidence based and transparent food security situation analysis following the Long rains season of 2019 taking into account the cumulative effect of previous seasons, in order to make recommendations for possible response options based on the situation analysis. The main drivers of food insecurity in the county are previous failed rainfall seasons with poor harvests and the below average long rains, resource based conflict and outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The projected production of maize, beans and Irish potatoes will be about six, 56 and 63 percent of their long term average. Maize held by households, traders and millers was 27 percent of the long term average. Most households relied on markets for food stocks.
The cattle body condition was fair in all livelihood zones while sheep and goats body condition was good to fair across both livelihood zones. There was a decline in milk production in the Mixed Marginal Livelihood Zone due to poor quality pastures. In-migration of cattle from Laikipia county to Naromoru, Lamuria and Gakawa constrained pasture availability in these areas. All markets were functioning normally however the prices of staple foods were on an upward trend. Maize prices were 43 percent above the long term average and the prices were expected to increase due to low domestic supply. The decline in sheep prices against increasing prices of food led to unfavourable terms of trade for livestock keepers. Income sources for households from casual labour were limited due to low farm activities.
The water levels were very low as compared to the normal seasons due to minimal recharge of the water sources. The consumption of water was 30 and 40 litres per person per day in the Mixed Farming and Marginal Mixed Farming zones respectively which was within the normal range of 30-40 litres per person per day across the livelihood zones. Milk consumption was normal at 0.5 and one litres per day in the Marginal Mixed Farming and Mixed Farming livelihood zones respectively and the prices were within the normal range. The proportion of households at borderline and acceptable food consumption score was 38 percent and 62 percent respectively which was low compared to same period in 2018. The mean coping strategy index was 5.3 compared to 3.9 for the same period in 2018 which was an indication that households were employing more severe coping strategies compared to the same period in 2018. Majority of households (74 percent) were not using any coping strategies while 25 and about one percent were using stress and crisis coping strategies respectively. The percentage of underweight children below five years was on an increasing trend and was high by 55 percent compared to the same period in 2018. The increase was attributed to reduced quality and quantity of food coupled with other underlying illnesses such as diarrhoea. There was an increase in Vitamin A supplementation in 2019 as compared to 2018.
Based on the food security outcomes and the contributing factors the County food security situation is classified in the ‘stressed phase (IPC Phase 2)