Samburu County is currently classified in the Crisis phase (IPC 3) in the pastoral all species zone and Stressed phase (IPC Phase 2) in the agro-pastoral all species and formal employment livelihood zones. A significant proportion of households; 40.7 percent in May 2017 from 1 percent in December 2016 especially in the pastoral all species areas currently have poor food consumption score with 54.7 percent of the households employing emergency coping strategies.
According to SMART survey 2017, the Coping Strategy Index (CSI) has increased from 17.6 in June 2016 to 26.0 implying worsening food consumption at household level.
Moreover, maize stocks are on a decline and this is attributed to less stock from farmers in the agro-pastoral and limited stocks held by NCPB. Majority of farmers exhausted their produce from last year’s harvest. In the pastoral all species livelihood zone, most farmers depend on stocks held by traders for there was nil harvest from the little planted in the last season. Maize stocks being held in the county were 85 percent below long term average (LTA) out of which only 9 percent was held by households, 24, 30 and 26 percent are held by traders, millers and NCPB respectively. Unfortunately, the projected productivity of rain fed maize, beans and cowpeas is expected to be 30, 25 and 50 percent below the LTA and for all the irrigated crops; kales, spinach and tomatoes, the productivity is expected to be 50 percent below LTA.
Markets were operational, although access to food was limited by high prices. Maize flour prices have been on a rising trend since January and 28 percent above LTA in June. The earlier than normal migration and poor body condition of livestock had reduced access to milk for consumption as well as income from livestock and livestock related products. The Terms of Trade (TOT) has been steadily declining since January and currently at 33 percent below LTA.
The decline is attributed to low livestock prices versus high posho prices.
The number of under five years of age at risk of malnutrition has been steadily increasing as from January through June where it stood at 26.48 percent, a 43 percent above the LTA across the county due to reducing food consumption and dietary diversity. Food utilization was poor, driven by the poor dietary intake. It is likely to deteriorate further, increasing food insecurity of individuals and households. The major contributing factors to food insecurity in the county included; poor performance of the short rains and poor distribution in space and time, low demand for livestock in the markets due to poor body condition, high food commodity prices and decrease in prices of livestock.