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Food security expected to improve as short rains continue

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Kenya
  • November 2014
Food security expected to improve as short rains continue

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2015
  • Partners
    Government of Kenya
    WFP
    Key Messages
    • The October to December short rains started in all pastoral and marginal agricultural areas of the country. Seasonal recovery of rangeland conditions and planting of short rain crops are underway in most areas. Through December, improvement in food security is expected with most households likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • In pastoral areas, improvements in rangeland conditions and livestock productivity are expected to continue through December. Household income will increase as livestock prices and demand increase. The majority of households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least March.

    • In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, increased demand for casual labor after the start of the rains has increased household income and the ability of households to make market purchases. With harvesting of short-cycle crops expected to start in early December, household food consumption will increase, but most households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


    Current Situation
    • Following the start of the short rains, food security in pastoral areas has improved. In the northwestern pastoral areas in Turkana, Samburu, and Marsabit, unusual early rains in September and the short rains in October and November have increased pasture, browse, and water availability. As a result, livestock body conditions have improved. In the northeastern pastoral areas, the short rains did not start until near the end of October. Pasture and browse have started regenerating. Livestock have been migrated to wet season grazing areas closer to homesteads. Livestock body conditions remain poor to fair but continue to improve. Milk production is still low. The majority of pastoral households remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), but localized areas in Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Marsabit, and Turkana remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • Livestock prices in most pastoral markets remained fairly stable between September and October, but in Wajir, the goat price dropped 10 percent. October livestock prices remained up to 39 percent above their five-year averages. Likewise, cereal prices remained stable, ensuring some stability in the terms of trade.
    • The short rains started at different times in the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas. The rains started late in October in Makueni, Kitui, Lamu, and Taita Taveta Counties, but in northern Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Nyeri, Kwale, and Kilifi, they started on time during the first or second week of October. Land preparation, planting, and the first weeding are ongoing, depending when the rains started and when land was planted. In some places like northern Meru, replanting was being done as some farmers had planted earlier with the off-season rains in September.
    • Maize prices remained stable or marginally declined from September to October due to ample supply from imports and from the harvest in high-potential areas in western Kenya. With seasonally increasing agricultural activities in the Southeast, casual labor demand has increased. Many households are able to minimally meet their food needs, and they remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Updated Assumptions

    Most assumptions from the Kenya Food Security Outlook for October 2014 to March 2015 remain unchanged, but the following change has been made:

    • While in October, the short rains were expected to be average to above-average in amount. Now, with the delayed establishment of the El Niño, the remainder of the short rains through December are likely to be near average to slightly below-average in amount but with fairly erratic distribution over space and time, especially in the Southeast.

    Projected Outlook Through March 2015

    As the short rains become more established in November and December, household food security in pastoral areas is expected to improve markedly. As rangeland conditions improve and livestock continue to be migrated back to wet season grazing areas, livestock productivity is expected to continue to improve. Milk production and consumption are expected to increase as kidding, lambing, and calving activities start in November and December. Demand for livestock will increase for the December holidays. With good body conditions and increased demand, livestock prices will increase. Household incomes will increase starting in November. With stable cereal prices, terms of trade are expected to remain stable or increase through at least March, as is the seasonal trend. The majority of households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, agricultural activities including agricultural labor are expected to continue through March. Increased demand for casual agricultural labor will result in increased household income. With continued rainfall between now and December, households will start to harvest short-cycle crops in December, increasing household food consumption. A near-average, primary harvest is expected in February. With normal access to income from labor, the majority of households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December. Towards the end of January/early February when the short rains harvest starts, most households are expected to move to None (IPC Phase 1).

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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