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Kenya: Current and Projected Acute Food Insecurity and Malnutrition Situation - August 2016 - January 2017

01/08/2016 - 28/02/2017

An estimated 1.25 million people will be acutely food insecure and require humanitarian assistance over the next six months until February 2017. They are mainly found in the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. 


Population in Stressed (IPC Phase 2)


The current food security situation in the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas is stable but deteriorating as the lean season progresses. Most areas are classified in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the pastoral areas, the long rains improved rangeland conditions although to varying degrees. In the north-west pastoral, agro-pastoral and parts of the north-east pastoral areas (Mandera and Wajir), the average to above-average rains regenerated rangeland resources to normal to above-normal levels. Open water sources recharged to 70 – 90 percent of their capacity. The average return trekking distance to livestock watering sources was 2 – 7 kilometres in agro-pastoral areas and 5 – 10 kilometres in pastoral areas, which are typical distances at this time of year. Pasture and browse conditions ranged from good to fair and were expected to last for the next two to three months. However, localized areas with high livestock concentrations, such as parts of Marsabit and Isiolo, and those which experienced substantial rainfall deficits (parts of Garissa and Tana River), reported poor rangeland conditions and livestock productivity. Livestock body condition for all species is fair to good, while household milk consumption is within seasonal norms at 1 – 3 litres per household per day; however, some exceptional areas reported much less (<1 litre/household/day) or much more (>3 litres/household/day). The proportion of households with an acceptable food consumption score increased in these areas given the improved availability of food in households. In agro-pastoral areas, most households are consuming 2 – 3 meals a day while those in pastoral areas are consuming 1 – 2 meals a day, typical for this period. The meals comprised 4 – 5 food groups, mainly cereals, pulses, oil, meat and milk. Livestock prices were above average though seasonally declining, while livestock-to-cereal terms of trade were favourable. However, low incomes constrain households who are only able to access minimally adequate food consumption and are unable to afford essential non-food items and contribute to their continued classification as Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


Parts of the south-east (southern Kitui and eastern Makueni) and coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones that were previously in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) have deteriorated to Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Most parts of these zones received above-normal rainfall in the 2015 short rains, although localized areas received below normal rainfall which was poorly distributed. The long rains were then significantly below average, resulting in two consecutive below-average cropping seasons. Most households have depleted their food stocks. Household income is also below normal, given the loss of wage labour opportunities caused by the reduction in farm-related activity. Household food consumption is currently supported primarily by market purchases, although reduced incomes are constraining access. Most households in these areas can meet their minimum dietary needs but not their other essential non-food needs, and are therefore classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


Population in Minimal (IPC Phase 1)


Most areas of the south-east and coastal marginal agricultural livelihood zones, and the agro-pastoral areas of Narok, Kajiado, Baringo, West Pokot and Laikipia, and parts of Wajir, are in Minimal3 (IPC Phase 1). The cumulative effects of three consecutive average-to-above average seasons continue to support favourable livestock production and cropping conditions, resulting in improved household food availability and access. More than 80 percent of households in these areas have an acceptable food consumption score. Food consumption is mainly supported by market purchase of major staples, the prices of which remain stable due to adequate supply and the availability of substitute commodities.


Food Security Prognosis, August 2016 – January 2017


Food security in pastoral areas is expected to deteriorate as the lean season of August-November approaches. Rangeland resources are expected to deteriorate in quality and quantity, with access to water and forage for livestock becoming more difficult. Consequently, most livestock are expected to migrate to dry-season grazing areas, far from homesteads. Livestock body condition is expected to decline from August to October resulting in a reduction in household milk availability and consumption. Livestock prices are also expected to decline, driven by poor body condition, and this will result in reduced household income. At a time when staple food prices are expected to increase, household purchasing power is likely to be eroded. Child malnutrition cases are likely to increase through October as diets become less diverse and portion sizes shrink. The north-eastern areas of Garissa, Tana River and parts of Isiolo, which received significantly below-normal rainfall and where rangeland resources regenerated poorly, are seeing a faster deterioration in food security conditions than other areas. To maintain food consumption, households are likely to engage more frequently in various coping strategies such as borrowing and buying food on credit (consumption-based strategies) and charcoal burning and selling of firewood (livelihood-based strategies). Most households are expected to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until November. However, localized areas in the north-eastern pastoral livelihood zones in Garissa, Tana River and Isiolo are likely to move to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). From November onwards, food security is expected to marginally improve with the onset of the October – December short rains, although these are forecast to be below average. The expected modest improvements in food security are unlikely to cause any improvement in the food insecurity phase classification before January 2017; on the contrary, more households are likely to move to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

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