Nyeri/Kieni District: Drought Monthly Bulletin, November 2009

Situation Report
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Situation overview

- Rainfall was received across all the livelihoods in the district, though varied in amount and distribution. Overall, the district received between 20 and 80 mm in November compared to the long term mean of between 60 and 200 mm. The rains are expected to assist in pasture and browse improvement as well as in crop production this short rains season.

- Roof catchment and surface runoff water harvesting structures acted as an alternative source of water after they impounded rain water, thus improving households access to domestic water. Consequently, distances and time spent in search of water for domestic consumption as well as from grazing fields reduced considerably during the month under review. This condition is anticipated to progress with continued rains.

- Karuthing'itu River resumed flow after remaining dry for the last five months. This was attributed to effective rationing organised by WRUA as well as recharge from the short rains.

- Forage situation remained wanting as regeneration of vegetation had been slow due to over reliance on sprouting pasture, which hindered its quick recovery from the negative impacts of the just ended dry spell. Nonetheless, livestock concentration was high at wet season grazing fields near homesteads.

- Body condition of cattle was poor to fair while that of sheep and goats was fair, a situation anticipated to change soon since pasture and browse re-growth was progressing well.

- Farm activities continued, with majority of the farmers undertaking top dressing and second weeding. In the farms where certified maize seed was planted, crop performance was good, but in about 60 per cent of the farms where uncertified maize seed were used performance was poor. This will impact negatively on the season's food production.

- Pasture regeneration accompanied by modest improvement in the body condition of cattle led to increase in milk production by 17 percent from 2.1 to 2.4 (750ml) bottles per household per day. In return, milk consumption also increased by 12 percent as approximately half daily milk production being consumed at household level.

- Livestock prices improved during the month as cattle traded at Ksh11,589.60 from Ksh 9,761.10 recorded last month, a 19 percent increase. Goats and sheep recorded 9 and 5 percent increase of Ksh1,102.80 to Ksh1,200 and Ksh1,188.90 to Ksh1,242.00 respectively.

- Cereals prices continued on an upward trend and outside normal threshold as maize recorded a 2 percent increase from Ksh46.60 to Ksh47.60. However, beans recorded 2 percent drop in prices from Ksh98.90 to Ksh97.40 per kilo respectively.

- The nutrition status of children under five years improved slightly during the month, with the percentage of those rated at risk of malnutrition dropping from 4.5 to 4.1 percent. Mwiyogo location recorded the highest rate at 10.2 percent, down from 13.8 percent recorded last month.