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Kenya: Acute Food Insecurity Overview - February-July 2016

31/12/2015 - 29/02/2016
Estimated 0.64 Million People Acutely Food Insecure and In Need of Immediate Food Assistance.

The short rains assessment found that an estimated 0.64 million people were acutely food insecure and in need of immediate food assistance. Most of the food insecure population is in the pastoral livelihood zones. 


The major contributory factors are insecurity (terrorism and resource-based), poor temporal and spatial rainfall distribution, below average cumulative rainfall in some areas, flash floods in other areas which destroyed crops and killed livestock, crop and livestock diseases, and human-wildlife conflict. Other underlying factors contributing to food insecurity include the prevalence of high poverty rates, limited income diversification, low use of modern farming technologies, and poor infrastructural facilities.


The good performance of the short rains led to a significant reduction in the population under Stressed (IPC Phase 2), compared with the 2015 long rains assessment. Pockets of Wajir and Isiolo which were classified as Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in August 2015 have now improved to the Stressed phase. However, most of the pastoral livelihood zones of Mandera, Wajir, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa and Baringo have remained in the Stressed phase, attributed to the inability of livelihoods to recover fully from the impacts of previous drought. For most households their herd size is still too low to generate adequate income to support food consumption. Outside the pastoral zones, the only other areas classified as Stressed are some pockets within the marginal mixed farming zones of Kilifi.


Most of the areas that are Stressed received between 75 and 150 percent of normal rainfall. The spatial distribution was generally even, but the temporal distribution was poor. Water recharge ranged from 60 – 90 percent of the carrying capacity of open water sources. While most of these still have 20 – 50 percent of their carrying capacity, some have dried up already. There was a marked improvement in rangeland conditions with pasture and browse being fair to good and positively supporting livestock productivity. Pasture is expected to last for 1 – 2 months in most of these areas. Livestock body condition for all species is fair to good. Average milk production in most households ranges from 1 – 3 litres per day, which is largely within seasonal levels, while household milk consumption is also normal at 1 – 2 litres per day. Livestock prices improved and were mostly above average. Consequently, the terms of trade were favourable and above average with the sale of one goat able to purchase 45 – 73 kg of maize. However, most households have low numbers of tropical livestock units (TLUs), resulting in few saleable livestock and subsequently insufficient income to meet their food and non-food needs.


Current areas under Minimal8 (IPC Phase 1) include the southeast and coastal marginal livelihood zones, localized parts of the pastoral areas of Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, Samburu, Garissa, all pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Tana River, and agro-pastoral areas of West Pokot, Baringo, Kajiado and Narok. These areas received two consecutive favourable rains and households have adequate income to support food and non-food access.


Food Security Prognosis through July 2016


Household food security will typically deteriorate between February and April as the short dry season continues, especially in the pastoral livelihood zones. Although the current land surface temperatures are higher than normal and will accelerate the deterioration of rangeland resources, the condition of these resources will still remain fair due to their above normal regeneration during the short rains. They will continue to support livestock productivity until the onset of the long rains in late March. However, localized areas that received below average rainfall are already experiencing more degraded rangeland conditions, and food security in these areas is declining at a faster rate. Even so, a significant decline in household food security is not expected between now and May in most pastoral areas as the long rains are expected to start by the end of March/early April. The long rains forecast indicates average to below average cumulative amounts. This is likely to result in the regeneration of rangeland resources, albeit at below normal levels, but this will still be adequate to support some livestock productivity through June.

Food Security ClustersFEWS NETFAOThe Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)CARE InternationalACF
The World Food Programme (WFP)unicefSICASave the ChildrenOxfamThe Joint research Center (JRC) of the European CommissionIGAD