Nyeri (Kieni) is currently classified in the stressed phase (IPC Phase 2) of the integrated food security Phase Classification. Kieni sub counties are not dependent on the long rains as the main season for crop production. In the month of July 2017, 50 percent and 55 percent of sampled households in the Agro pastoral and Mixed farming livelihood zone had acceptable food consumption score respectively. The coping strategy index is currently 8.5 and 4.3 in agro pastoral and mixed farming livelihood zones respectively indicating that households are engaging more frequently in consumption based coping strategies to access basic commodities particularly in the agro pastoral livelihood zone.
Currently, food availability is reduced as there are no stocks at the household .The county maize stock mainly held by traders stand at 14 percent of the long term average due to two consecutive poor seasons experienced. Maize crop production is 70 percent below long term average (LTA) while potatoes and beans recorded a decrease by 21and 49 percent respectively as compared to LTA. Cases of fall army worms were reported and estimated to have affected production by 10 percent of the projected production.
Food access is generally constrained considering that food crop production is below average significantly reducing income from this source and consequently access to food. Maize prices in July were Ksh. 60 per kilogram and 43 percent above the LTA of Ksh. 42 caused by lack of availability at household level reducing the household purchasing power as terms of trade are currently unfavorable. Milk prices were slightly above average from a range of Ksh. 30 – 32 compared with the normal Ksh. 25 with parts of mixed farming livelihood zone recording the highest price of Ksh. 32. Trekking distances to domestic water sources increased to a range of 3-5 kilometers as compared to three kilometers normally in agro pastoral livelihood zone. Distances to water points were normal in the mixed farming livelihood zone.
Food utilization is unstable as proportion of children under five years of age at risk of malnutrition (MUAC <135 mm) in July 2017 was 2.3 percent and 21 percent above LTA of 1.9 percent. The fully immunized child (FIC) coverage for 2017 was below the national target of 80 percent.
The major contributing factors to food insecurity in the county include; poor performance of the long rains, poor crop performance, increasing food prices, drying up of water sources , Pests and diseases especially the fall army worm, livestock in migration from neighboring counties invasive weeds in pasture fields and frost.