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Libyan Newswire

FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Kenya (13-November-2014)

Reference Date: 13-November-2014


  1. “Long rains” cereal production estimated at below-average level

  2. Persisting poor conditions of grazing resources in most pastoral areas of Eastern and North-Eastern provinces

  3. Prices of maize continue to decline due to adequate supply

  4. Food security conditions start to improve in most agricultural areas as newly-harvested crops become available for consumption

Below-average production expected from the 2014 “long rains” season crops

Harvesting of the 2014 “long rains” season maize crop was completed in August in most southeastern areas, while it is underway in the high and medium potential areas of northern Rift Valley and will continue until the end of the year. The seasonal maize production is estimated at below-average levels due to unfavourable rains that affected crop germination and development as well as to the increased incidence of the viral Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND).

Planting of the 2014 “short rains” season crops has started in mid-October in most bi-modal rainfall southeastern and coastal lowlands. According to the latest Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), rains until December are expected to be average to above-average, with likely positive impact on crops to be harvested early next year. However, as shown by the NDVI anomaly map, significant moisture deficits remain in southeastern counties of Makueni and Kitui.

Aggregate cereal production in 2014 (including a forecast of a slightly above-average output for the “short rains” season to be harvested by early 2015) is forecast at 3.5 million tonnes, about 12 percent below last five-year average. Accordingly, cereal import requirements for the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are set at an above-average level of about 2.5 million tonnes, including 1.1 million tonnes of wheat and wheat flour, 900 000 tonnes of maize and 445 000 tonnes of rice.

Poor grazing resources in most eastern and northeastern pastoral and agro-pastoral areas

In eastern and northeastern pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, the “short rainy” season has generally not yet started and significant moisture deficits are reported in parts of Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa counties. As these areas received below-average March to May seasonal rains, grazing resources are almost completely exhausted. Trekking distances have increased, livestock body condition ranges from fair to poor and milk production is generally below average. By contrast, unusual off-season rains between July and early September as well as during the first half of October have improved rangeland conditions in northwestern pastoral areas of Turkana, Samburu, Baringo and West Pokot counties where animal body condition is currently between fair and good.

Maize prices continue to decline in most markets

Maize prices have substantially decreased since last July in most markets. In main urban markets of Nairobi and Mombasa, prices between July and October were down by 27 and 38 percent, respectively. Substantial imports from Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania (where main harvests were gathered in May/July) and the start of the “long rains” harvest in southern areas of the Rift Valley have increased supplies in local markets, exerting downward pressure on prices. In October, maize was traded in the Nairobi wholesale market at about USD 290 per tonne, about 25 percent below the levels of 12 months earlier.

Food security is still a concern in pastoralist areas, but improves in crop producing areas

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance reached its peak at about 1.5 million people in October, at the end of the lean season. Most of affected people were concentrated in pastoral areas of Marsabit, Wajir and Isiolo counties in the northeast as well as in pocket areas of Samburu and Turkana counties in the northwest. In these areas, the imminent establishment of the “short rains” is expected to have positive effects on pastoralists’ food security by early December as grazing resources gradually improve leading to better livestock productivity.

In major agricultural areas, food security conditions have started to improve following the increasing availability of newly-harvested “long rains” crops in local markets. The overall number of food insecure people is expected to decline gradually until the end of the year, when the bulk of 2014 “long rains” crops will be harvested and some green and early maturing “short rains” crops will be ready for consumption in southeastern marginal agricultural areas. Households’ access to food is also expected to improve as staple food prices continue their declining trend and more labour opportunities become available during the “short rainy” season.

The country hosts a large number of refugees with about 427 500 refugees from Somalia as of end-October 2014. About 80 percent of them reside in Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Garissa county where access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to the high concentration of people. In addition, as of 10 November 2014, an estimated 44 130 refugees have crossed over to Kenya since violence erupted in South Sudan in mid-December and are currently residing in the northwestern area of Kakuma in Turkana county. Latest reports indicate that the most pressing needs include protection for separated children, registration and health services.