Food Security Outlook

Poor 2017 long rains mark second consecutive season of drought

June 2017

June - September 2017

Kenya June 2017 Food Security Projections for June to September

October 2017 - January 2018

Kenya June 2017 Food Security Projections for October to January

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
WFP
Kenya - NDMA

Key Messages

  • Following significantly below-average March to May long rains across the majority of Kenya’s pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, large areas of the country are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and atypically high food assistance needs, projected to continue until at least November when the short rains season is well underway. Humanitarian assistance is ongoing in various parts of Kenya, with the scale of assistance mitigating the severity of outcomes in parts of Turkana with poor households in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2). 

  • In pastoral areas, partial regeneration of rangeland is expected to lead to an atypically early lean season in July. Below-average livestock productivity has kept milk production and livestock sales at low levels, limiting household income and food access due to high staple food prices. Poor households in many pastoral areas are likely to continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through January 2018. However, some localized poor households could experience worse outcomes through October in the absence of emergency food assistance. 

  • Below-average maize production in both the high and medium-producing areas as well as the marginal agricultural areas due to below-normal rainfall and the effects of Fall Armyworm is expected. This is likely to keep staple food prices high, which are 17 – 49 percent above five-year averages in the major urban consumption markets, constraining household purchasing power. Despite the Government of Kenya’s subsidies on maize flour and maize imports, prices are expected to remain high through January 2018. 

  • In southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, crop production activities, while at below-average levels, continue to provide some income-earning opportunities, facilitating needed market purchases. The below-average long rains harvest in July is expected to provide a temporary reprieve from market dependence, but by August, supplies will be depleted and drive more poor households into Crisis (IPC Phase 3), particularly in northern Kitui and Kilifi.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation

Nationally, food security is gradually declining driven by persistent high staple food prices and dwindling supplies in the face of increased demand. Below-average crop production in 2016 in Kenya and neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania have resulted in the low supplies and below-average cross-border imports. In a response to lower maize supplies, the Government of Kenya in May issued permits for the importation of 540,000 metric tons (MT) of maize for human consumption with an aim to improve the market supply and announced the provision of a subsidy on maize flour, regulating the price at KES 45 per kilogram to stabilize prices and improve household access to the commodity. Currently, the millers hold a majority of the stocks as they are currently engaged in the importation of maize to provide maize flour for the general public at the subsidized prices. In the urban reference markets of Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, and Kisumu wholesale maize prices between the months of April and May continued to increase by up to 13 percent due to tightening supplies. Prices remained between 44 to 59 percent above five year-averages as they have atypically, steadily increased.

According to estimates from the State Department of Agriculture (SDA), national long rains crop production is expected to drop by 25 percent due to a combination of the effects from the late onset and generally below-average rainfall and the impact of the Fall Armyworm (FAW). FAW has affected 27 out of 47 counties, affecting about 200,000 hectares of staple food crops, which represents less than one percent of all areas planted and is quite minimal. SDA, in conjunction with the respective county governments, are currently involved in FAW prevention and control activities.

In the southeastern marginal mixed farming zone, the March to May long rains were late by one to two dekads across the majority of the zone but were up to four dekads late in the eastern parts of Kitui County, bordering Tana River, and in southern Makueni, bordering Kajiado and Taita Taveta. Most areas received below-average rainfall, ranging from 50 – 75 percent of normal, while the northern part of Meru, bordering Isiolo, received even less at 25 – 50 percent of normal. Rainfall was better, 90 – 110 percent of normal, in lower parts of Kitui and Makueni, and even better in some isolated areas of Kitui that received 110 – 140 percent of normal rainfall. Overall, the distribution was poor both in time and space across the zone. The main food crops planted within the zone are maize, beans, millet, sorghum, cowpeas, and green grams. The main crop production activities ongoing are the first and second weeding depending on the stage of the crops. Crop conditions vary from poor to good across the zone due to the amount and distribution of the rains. Crop conditions are good in the mixed farming areas in Embu and Tharaka Nithi, and they remain fair in the mixed farming areas of Kitui and the marginal mixed farming areas of Embu. They are, however, poor in the marginal mixed farming areas of Tharaka Nithi and Kitui, such as Kitui East (Endau/Malalani), Mwingi Central (Nguni, Nuu), and Kitui South (Ikutha and Mutha). In Nyeri and Kitui, the maize crop is facing moisture stress. Fall and African armyworm attacks were reported on the maize crop in parts of Kitui (Kitui South and Mwingi West), Nyeri (Tetu and the Kirima region of Othaya), and Makueni. In Tharaka Nithi, they mostly affected sorghum and millet but were mitigated by the late season rainfall. Pulses are in good condition across the zone and are at the normal podding and flowering stages of development. Casual labor opportunities remain below average due to the poor rainfall that reduced crop production activities.   

Since the long rains season is not the main production season for this zone, opportunities at this time of year are typically lower regardless. In the lowlands of Makueni, households did not attempt to plant any crops due to below-average rains. This has significantly reduced household income and purchasing power at a time of high market dependency, forcing poor households to rely on less expensive foods, decrease the number of meals per day, and reduce meal portion sizes. As a result, poor households are relying on charcoal sales, non-agricultural wage labor, petty trade, and remittances from relatives for income. Though typical at this time of the year, households are engaging in these activities more than usual. Between April and May, maize prices in the representative markets of Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, and Nyeri rose by 7 – 22 percent and ranged between 32 – 79 percent above the five-year averages. The rise in local prices is attributed to depleted household stocks and higher prices from the external markets of central and western Kenya and cross-border trade from Tanzania. Bean prices also rose across the zone by 6 – 25 percent and were 10 – 27 percent above five-year averages due to the depletion of household stocks.

The proportion of children “at risk” of malnutrition measured by Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) <135 mm from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) sentinel sites typically range between 3 – 10 percent of children for this zone. Between March to May, the proportion of children “at risk” remained stable in Makueni and Tharaka Nithi but fell by 17 and 70 percent in Kitui and Nyeri, respectively, due to a marginal increase in milk consumption in both areas over this time period. The current proportions remain 17 – 20 percent below the five-year average in Kitui and Makueni due to the impact of recent nutrition interventions; however, they remain 78 – 81 percent above the five-year average in Tharaka Nithi and Nyeri due to an overall decrease in food and milk consumption.

In May, due to the poor regeneration of rangeland resources, there has been atypical livestock migration movements in and outside the zone. In some portions of Kitui, some households moved their livestock earlier than normal in search of water and forage. In Nyeri County, pastoralists from Laikipia, Isiolo, and Samburu have maintained their livestock here due to the below- average forage availability in their respective counties of origin. In addition, conflicts over grazing and water resources between pastoralists from Tana River and farmers were reported in Mwingi North Sub-County (Tseikuru and Ngomeni ward) and in Mwingi Central (Nguni Ward) of Kitui. Peace building and conflict management activities are ongoing to relieve tensions and address the situation. The poor short rains harvests in February 2017 led to lower household stocks, high staple food prices; while below-average long rains led to low income-earning opportunities and consequently below-average household purchasing power. As a result, poor households in the southeastern marginal mixed farming zone are able to achieve minimally adequate food consumption but cannot afford non-food expenditures and remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. However, in parts of Kitui (Mwingi Central and Mwingi West), poor households have experienced consecutive poor seasons and repeated conflict with pastoralists from neighboring counties that has affected their livelihoods and are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. 

In the coastal marginal mixed farming zone, the long rains onset ranged from normal to four dekads late, and the zone received near-normal to above-normal amounts, apart from parts of Taita Taveta and northern Kilifi that received 50 – 90 percent of normal rainfall. The late onset of rains, reduced planted acreage in Taita Taveta, infestations by the Fall and African armyworm (except in Kwale), and flooding will likely result in below-average maize crop production for this zone. Reduced crop production activities caused by the late rains, which has shortened the length of the growing season, has subsequently reduced household incomes. Staple food prices range from 12 – 117 percent above five-year averages due to depleted household stocks and limited supplies from cross-border imports, and in Kilifi, three successive seasons of poor crop production. A large number of households remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while those previously in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Kilifi (Ganze, Kaloleni, and Magarini) remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). (See the area of concern section for more details.)

In the pastoral areas that include northeastern (Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo), southeastern (Garissa, Tana River), northwestern (Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot, Baringo), northern (Marsabit), and southern (Narok, Kajiado) regions, the March to May long rains ranged from significantly below average, less than 25 percent of normal, especially in central Isiolo, to some small, isolated areas that received average to above average amounts, up to 140 percent of normal (see Figure 1). Rainfall ranged from 25 – 50 percent of normal across the majority of Isiolo, southern Turkana, western Marsabit, western and eastern Samburu, eastern Garissa, northern and central Tana River, and isolated pockets of Kajiado. Rainfall was better, 90 – 140 percent of normal in western parts of both Garissa and Marsabit, eastern and southern Wajir, and in pockets of Mandera, and Tana River. In other areas, cumulative rainfall totals were about 50 – 75 percent of normal. The rains were mostly poorly distributed both spatially and temporally. Improvements in rangeland resources have been observed, particularly since May, but overall regeneration has been below average, with vegetation levels ranging between 60 – 90 percent of normal in parts of Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Tana River, portions of Garissa, Kajiado, and Narok. Poor forage, particularly pasture and water resources, have been reported in Baringo, Mandera, Tana River, Turkana, Garissa, Marsabit (Bubisa, Balesa, Dabel, Funanqumbi, Amballo, North Horr), and Kajiado (Magadi), and return trekking distances for livestock remain above average, ranging from 4 - 15 kilometers across the zone. A majority of the livestock, especially cattle, are being maintained in the dry season areas with a few remaining in homesteads. 

The scarcity of rangeland resources resulted in additional livestock mortalities in May in Isiolo (Sericho, Cherab, and Oldonyiro wards) and Kajiado (Mosiro and Magadi). Intra and inter-county migration persists as pastoralists are forced to migrate further to dry season grazing areas and non-pastoral agricultural areas. Migration was observed from: Turkana to South Sudan; Turkana and West Pokot into Uganda; Isiolo to Marsabit; Tanzania back into Kajiado; Isiolo to Laikipia; Kajiado to Nairobi; Marsabit to Ethiopia; and Kajiado to Taita Taveta. The migration has resulted in conflicts between different pastoralist groups and wildlife, resulting in the loss of livestock and human lives. Across Isiolo, Garissa, Turkana, and Marsabit, livestock body conditions remain below average, reflecting the poor rangeland conditions. In Isiolo, all species of livestock have poor body conditions, with the worst being in Bassa, Oldonyiro and Sericho, and in Marsabit, they are particularly severe in Maikona, North Horr, Amballo, Korr, Kargi, El-Hadi, Badan Rero, Laq, Farakoren, Gas, Burgabo, Dabel, Eleborr, Barambate, Balesa, Bubisa, Turbi, and Loyangalani. In other pastoral areas of the country, body conditions remain fair for most species, which typically at this time of the year should be good. Livestock diseases remained prevalent in Baringo, Turkana, Isiolo, Garissa, Wajir, West Pokot, Kajiado, Samburu, Tana River, and Narok counties. (In Baringo, a total of 261 sheep and goats and 26 cattle died due to various diseases in the month of May.) Below-average livestock body conditions have reduced livestock productivity levels. As a result, household milk production is lower, and while it has increased seasonally, it remains below average across pastoral areas, ranging from 0.7 - 15 liters compared to typical amounts of 1 - 28 liters.

In some counties, like Isiolo, milk production is up to 90 percent below the five-year average. Household purchasing power remains low as high staple food prices and below-average livestock prices, due to low demand caused by poor body conditions, continue to constrain the goat-to-cereals terms of trade, with pastoral households purchasing less maize with the sale of a goat (see Figure 2).

According to a Food Security Outcome Monitoring (FSOM) exercise carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) in May, the percentage of households with poor food consumption ranges from 0.5 – 8.3 percent across the northeastern, eastern, northern, southeastern, and southern pastoral zones, with the majority of households having acceptable food consumption. Worse food consumption was observed in households in the northwestern pastoral livelihood zone, where 41 percent of households had poor food consumption, and households were consuming one meal a day compared to two to three meals normally, consisting of a staple and vegetables. Notable consumption-based coping strategies employed by the majority of poor households in the northwestern pastoral zone during the month included reduced meal portion sizes, reliance on less preferred/less expensive foods, purchasing food on credit, skipping meals, charcoal burning, petty trade, and reliance on gifts, relief food, and remittances. The proportion of children “at risk” of malnutrition measured by Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) < 135mm as shown by the NDMA sentinel site data between April and May ranged between 14 – 34.5 percent and showed improvement with the effects of the long rains on livestock productivity, except in Isiolo, Tana River, Turkana, and Garissa. However, due to below-average milk availability and food for consumption, the proportion “at risk” remains above the five-year averages in Kajiado, Isiolo, Garissa, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River, Narok, and Mandera. In Marsabit, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot, the proportion “at risk” remained below average due to increased nutrition interventions within these counties. According to recent analyses and projections carried out by the Kenya Nutrition Information Technical Working Group (NITWG), the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) outcomes are at “Alert” (GAM weight-for-height z-score measurements, WHZ, ≥ 5 – 9.9 percent) in Marsabit (Saku and Moyale sub counties), “Serious” (GAM WHZ 10.0 – 14.9 percent) in Samburu, Tana River, and northern Wajir (Wajir North), “Critical” (GAM WHZ 15.0 – 29.9 percent) in West Pokot, Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, and Baringo (East Pokot) and a portion of Turkana (Turkana West), and “Extremely Critical” (GAM WHZ ≥30 percent) in the rest of Turkana (Turkana North), Marsabit (North Horr), and Mandera counties.

Across pastoral areas, most poor households remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, with some portions of Turkana (Turkana Central and Loima) in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2) in the presence of humanitarian assistance, with minimally adequate food consumption, but they are unable to afford their non-food needs without the use of irreversible coping strategies. However, in other parts of Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, and Tana River, poor households are experiencing food consumption gaps and/or are sometimes only able to meet their minimum food needs by employing unsustainable coping strategies, including distressed livestock sales and depleting household savings, and face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

The Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP) has continued to provide regular cash transfers to households in the four counties of Wajir, Turkana, Marsabit, and Mandera, with each household receiving about USD 26 per month under both the regular and emergency phases. Approximately 101,000 households are under the regular program, and now an additional 267,000 households across the four counties are receiving cash transfers under the emergency component. Additional humanitarian assistance is being provided throughout the country by different actors, government and non-government entities, providing both food and non-food assistance, and there are plans for some of these to continue through September 2017. Cash transfer programs are being carried out in both the pastoral and marginal areas by the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision, and Kenya Red Cross and are enabling vulnerable households to access food through market purchases. The most extensive assistance being provided is in Turkana County (see the area of concern for more details.) According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Kenya’s appeal for humanitarian assistance in March, amounting to USD 165.8 million, that complements the Government of Kenya’s response efforts, to date, has only been 19 percent funded, resulting in a significant shortfall. However, the pledged funding to date is likely to positively impact food security outcomes. Still, given the current level of information on county coverage rates and beneficiaries for these programs, including uncertainty on its implementation with respect to timing, procurements, logistics, and accessibility issues, it is difficult to determine the exact level of impact of this emergency assistance; and as a result, these programs, with the exception of those in Turkana County, were not included in FEWS NET’s analysis. 

Assumptions

The following assumptions have been made at the national level:

·         Kenya’s unimodal rains over the western areas of the country (February to August 2017) have been average, except in the southwestern and northwestern regions, which have experienced below-average rainfall performance, less than 80 percent of normal. Total cumulative seasonal rainfall is expected to be average to below average.

·         Based on the June IRI/CPC forecast, the most likely scenario is for ENSO neutral conditions through early 2018 and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) developing during summer and fall 2017. As a result, the short rains season (October to December) over eastern/central regions of Kenya is expected to be above average in terms of total cumulative rainfall and closer to near-average over more southern coastal areas. However, in western areas of the country, average to below- average cumulative rainfall is forecast.

·         Wholesale maize prices in the representative urban consumption markets of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret have risen atypically over the last few months due to tight supplies in the country, against high and sustained consumer demand. The tight supplies emanate from two previous consecutive below-average production seasons and reduced imports from Tanzania and Uganda. Technical projections by FEWS NET for the key consumption market of Nairobi show that maize prices are expected to continue rising seasonably through the end of 2017, but steadily moderated by the arrival of international (Mexico) imports and imminent fresh supplies from Tanzania and Zambia. Prices are also likely to stabilize slightly between July and September, following harvesting of the long rains crop. The stability is likely to be short-lived as atypically high domestic demand is expected due to the below-average long rains production as stocks are likely to deplete faster than normal. Maize prices are expected to range between KES 4,000 – 5,000 for a 90-kg bag between June 2017 and January 2018. Prices throughout the scenario period are expected to remain above the recent five-year average levels by about 30 to 50 percent.

·         The expected below-average total cumulative seasonal rainfall in the high and medium rainfall areas of Kenya is likely to result in a below-average long rains crop production, particularly in the North Rift, where maize has experienced stunted growth. Long rains maize production is expected to be below average for a second consecutive year, and a low carry-over stock will persist because of reduced regional cross-border trade. However, this is expected to be slightly offset by international imports of white maize from Mexico and yellow maize for animal feed, likely from Ukraine.

·         The Fall Armyworm infestation (FAW) has affected mainly maize crop fields at the early stages of crop development in the major producing western and Rift Valley counties as well as in some parts of the agropastoral and marginal agricultural areas, impacting 27 counties and approximately 200,000 hectares. If the pest is not controlled, it could have significant impacts on total long rains crop production. Depending on climatic conditions for the short rains season and the extent of adopted pest management strategies to control the FAW, there is a possibility that the pest could also have an impact on the 2018 short rains production.

·         With the below-average cumulative long rains and potential impacts of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) infestation in Kenya, there are uncertainties about the quality of the main harvest between July and September. As a result, staple grain supplies are expected to continue tightening. To bridge the country’s grain deficits, there is likely to be an increase in grain imports from within and outside East Africa’s borders. The Government of Kenya is likely to continue offering tax relief to private sector companies to import additional grain.

·         Due to the poor 2016 cropping season, household food stocks are atypically low. In many poor farming households, they have been totally depleted. With the long rains harvested crop expected to be below average, total household stocks will remain below-normal levels throughout the scenario period.

·         The 2017 General Elections in Kenya, slated for August 8, have result in a slowdown in economic activities since early June. Tension from electoral activities are likely to affect typical livelihood activities, particularly for vulnerable communities across various parts of the country, impeding their access to typical food and income sources. Due to this tension, humanitarian interventions in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas are also likely to be affected, as humanitarian actors are expected to temporarily suspend their activities until after the elections. In the event of an outbreak of electoral violence, displacement of vulnerable populations and disruption of food commodity flows are likely, with the potential to exacerbate the fragile national food security situation.

·         According to reports by UNHCR, the repatriation of Somali refugees from Dadaab Refugee Camp to Somalia is expected to continue throughout the scenario period. However, due to the ongoing drought in Somalia, this exercise is likely to continue to experience some slow down, as few people are registering for repatriation. The slow repatriation efforts as well as the uncertainty over the closure of Dadaab is expected to continue exerting tension between host communities and refugee populations, with the possibility that livelihoods could be affected, constraining access to food and income for both host and refugee populations.

·         In Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana County, persistent violence in South Sudan continues to result in refugee influxes. According to UNHCR as of June 19, approximately 12,000 South Sudanese refugees arrived in Kenya since the beginning of 2017, and this number is expected to continue increasing. The increased number of refugees continues to stretch the already limited humanitarian assistance resources, and the refugees are expected to face acute food consumption gaps and high malnutrition outcomes throughout the scenario period. Note, that FEWS NET’s analysis does not cover refugee populations in Kenya.  It is expected that the October 2015 to January 2016 long rains harvest in the West and Rift Valley will adequately stock markets through May. 

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

The national food security situation is set to improve slightly from June with the availability of the Msimu harvest from Tanzania, Government of Kenya sanctioned international imports, and flows of government-subsidized maize flour that will likely moderate further staple food price increases. However, thin market supplies and depleted household stocks as a result of poor 2016 crop harvests will sustain continued demand for staple food crops in the market, keeping prices above average. The projected below-average long rains harvests for both the marginal areas and for the high and medium rainfall areas are projected to temporarily stabilize the prices in July and October, respectively, with traders scrambling to stockpile supplies during the harvest months for future sales. Harvests from Uganda will also be available from August, marginally increasing the supply and stabilizing prices, especially in western areas of Kenya. Throughout the scenario period, maize prices are expected to follow seasonal trends, albeit at elevated levels of 30 – 50 percent above average. Taking into consideration the long and short rains production, imports, post-harvest losses, and consumption and other forms of usage, SDA estimates that by the end of January 2018, Kenya will have a surplus of 727,300 MT of maize, adequate to last until February 2018 when the short rains harvest becomes available. Throughout the scenario period, with supplies from the long rains harvests and imports available at sufficient levels, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are likely in the non-arid and semi-arid areas, as the majority of poor households are projected to be able to meet essential food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical, unsustainable strategies.

In the southeastern and coastal marginal mixed farming zones, food security is set to decline from the end of July as a below-average harvest is expected for the maize crop in Nyeri and Kitui due to moisture stress and in Makueni due to erratic rains that caused many farmers not to plant any crops. In Kitui, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, and Makueni, the effect of the Fall and African armyworm infestations will also likely result in reduced production, especially for maize. Pulses are likely to perform well and act as substitutes but overall production may still be insufficient to meet needs, reducing food availability and consumption at the household level. Reduced agricultural production in July is likely to cause a drop in staple crop sales, agricultural wage labor opportunities, and consequently household income and purchasing power. Households are expected to deplete their food stocks earlier than usual and by early August return to market dependence. However, with reduced income and high staple food prices, households will likely be forced to depend on non-agricultural labor, charcoal sales, remittances, and petty trade in order to meet essential food needs. Between August and October, low milk availability and consumption is likely to increase malnutrition, especially in children under five years of age. In September at the peak of the lean season, conflict between livestock herders and farmers and human-wildlife conflict will likely intensify in areas adjacent to the national parks, especially in Taita Taveta and Kitui counties, resulting in the destruction of farms and property, disrupting livelihood activities. Food insecurity is projected to peak in September, with additional households moving into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity. Between September and October, increased land preparation and planting, in anticipation of the forecasted average short rains in these zones, is expected to improve household incomes and facilitate better food access. The long rains harvest from the high rainfall areas of western Kenya and the Rift Valley will become available in markets, beginning in October, moderating staple food prices, likely improving household food access and consumption. From November, the rains are likely to improve forage and livestock productivity, increasing milk production and consumption. In December, short cycle crops will become available, improving dietary diversity and household level food availability through January 2018. Food security is expected to improve as a majority of poor households across the zone, previously in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) improve to None (IPC Phase 1), and even those in portions of northern Kitui and in Kilifi (Ganze, Kaloleni, and Magarini) previously experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to improve to None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity as they are able to meet essential and non-essential food needs, largely due to better labor opportunities.  However, in portions of Kilifi, due to three years of poor production, it is likely that some poor household could still face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes as they rebuild their livelihoods.

In the pastoral areas, beginning in July, rangeland conditions are expected to atypically deteriorate at an accelerated rate due to the below-average long rains that resulted in insufficient regeneration. Livestock trekking distances will further increase, diminishing livestock productivity and making livestock more susceptible to disease and death, necessitating further migration.  Resource-based conflicts are expected to occur, especially along migration corridors with expected displacement of people and loss of livestock. Food availability at the household level is expected to decline as high staple food prices persist amidst reduced incomes from livestock and milk sales. Income from livestock-related wage labor, such as herding, is expected to significantly decline as pastoralists move their remaining livestock away from the homesteads in search of forage and pasture. Throughout the scenario period, most poor households will be consuming mostly staples and vegetables, accessed from the markets, and for the most vulnerable households, there will be an increased reliance on humanitarian assistance. Acute malnutrition is expected to continue deteriorating across the pastoral areas as reduced food access, including that from livestock (milk and meat), predisposes household members, especially children, pregnant and lactating mothers, to higher malnutrition outcomes. An increase in malnutrition cases is also likely due to an expected increase in morbidity prevalence, following reduced access to water in terms of quality and quantity during the prolonged dry period through at least the beginning of October, which will predispose the population to waterborne diseases.

From August, increased reliance on coping strategies, such as charcoal sales, remittances, safety nets, and humanitarian assistance is expected to help poor households meet their minimum food needs. In between August and September, the peak of food insecurity, additional households in Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, and Tana River are expected to move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity. It is also likely some households will experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during this period in the absence of sustained humanitarian assistance. In October, the projected average to above-average October to December short rains, except in northwestern and pockets of the northern pastoral areas, are expected to replenish rangeland resources and thus compel many pastoralists to move their livestock back to the homesteads. From November through January, improved livestock productivity in the areas that will receive good rainfall, with the likely exception of northwestern areas, is set to increase livestock and milk sales as households seek to restock their herds. With increased demand for livestock, this is expected to lead to higher livestock prices, providing additional income and food at the household level. Increased livestock conception and births, particularly for sheep and goats, in the months of October and November, are expected to gradually improve herd sizes for all species and provide livestock-related income-earning opportunities, such as herding. As a result, in many pastoral areas, food availability and consumption is expected to rise with increased purchasing power. As a result, dependence on remittances and safety nets are likely to drop slightly from November but will most likely remain above average, particularly in Turkana. Improvements in food and milk availability will likely boost the nutritional status of children under five and pregnant and lactating women, though the GAM prevalence is expected to remain stable at “Critical” levels (15.0 – 29.9 percent) for most of the pastoral areas, except for Tana River, Wajir North, and Samburu that are expected to be in “Serious” (10.0 – 14.9) and “Alert” (≥ 5 – 9.) in Saku and Moyale sub-counties of Marsabit through the end of the scenario period. As a result of the expected positive impacts from the short rains, particularly in the northern and eastern pastoral areas, higher incomes and increased food availability will lead to marked improvements from November onwards as many poor households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as they can meet their essential food needs. (Note, since these improvements will happen near the end of the scenario period, the change will not be reflected in the FEWS NET mapping since it shows the predominant phase classification for a four-month period.) However, some of the areas (Turkana, West Pokot, and parts of Marsabit) that potentially may experience less rainfall than other areas and the worst-affected poor households in parts of Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, and Tana River are likely to continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through January 2018 as they gradually rebuild their livelihoods.

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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