Drought Bulletin summary for the Month of March 2011
This Drought Bulletin is a represents sub counties of Lopeei, Ngoleriet, Tarpac, Nadunget and Katikekile.
March 2011 marked the beginning of the on set of the rainy season. Erratic rains with humid conditions were experienced in several areas of the districts giving way to intense opening of agricultural land. The seasonal forecast that rainfall amounts will likely be normal to below normal. It should not noted that as a result of the rainfall within the month, the vegetation condition has greatly improved with minimum numbers of households saying that Acacias and Desert Dates are yellowing. The shedding off observed has been due to the wild fires in the communities.
The rejuvenated pastures and available water has significantly led to reduced time spent by livestock to access grazing areas by 2 hours as compared to February, this is because animals can graze in nearby areas. The available pasture and water has also maintained the good livestock body condition. This body condition is expected to improve if rains continue. Livestock disease cases have greatly subsidized as a result of continuous vaccination. Nevertheless, pockets of Lumpy skin and East Coast fever are suspected in Lokopo and Lopeei sub counties.
Due to the on set of rains, about 900 acres of land were opened, part of which have been planted. Cereals (Sorghum-Sekeddo, Cow peas-Secow, Millet-Pearl) and Pulses Beans K132&131 are the dominant crops that have been planted. 83 bags of cassava cuttings (TME 14) that were distributed have been planted, though households worry that the cuttings could have dried before sprouting.
Time spent to access water decreased for boreholes, pans and dams, traditional rivers wells and springs except for rivers which increased from 1.5hours in February to 3.75hours in March. This increase is because rivers are used by both households and livestock thus causing congestion. Though borehole usage reduced from 87% to 65% due to the diversification of the rain fed water sources, it remains the most used source because it is the safest water for domestic use.
Prices of labor have increased. This is attributed to the demand of labor to open up land and as well to the fact that most labor force is involved in private gardens which reduces the supply in the market. Similarly the prices of wood and charcoal rose mainly because of the weather situation and because households are engaged more in opening up of land. As a consequence firewood and charcoal are less available on the market and demand supersedes supply.
There was an increase in the terms of trade (meat:sorghum) mainly because of the rise in beef prices as a result of the low number of animals on the market for both sale and slaughter. Though this presents that pastoral community have a better purchasing power, it worth noting that this may not represent the entire community due to the on going quarantine in the neighboring districts.
As households enter into the planting season with the onset of rains, communities are engaged in coping strategies that aim at maintaining their food stock level and ensuring they have enough to push them till the next harvest time. Mechanisms such as relying on gifts and borrowing from relatives are highly engaged by the households. This suggests that households’ food stock is diminishing and the little free food accessed during the campaigns is running out.
Caution: Communities are cautioned to use safe water sources especially boreholes for domestic use following on the onset of the wet season.