Skip to main content

Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes following third consecutive below-average season

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Kenya
  • February - September 2022
Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes following third consecutive below-average season

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Assumptions
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • The effects of a third consecutive below-average rainy season are resulting in deteriorating food security outcomes driven by the impacts of poor crop and livestock production, resource-based conflict, livestock disease and mortality, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2022, the KFSSG's annual Short Rains Assessment reported that there are around 3.1 million food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, a 48 percent increase since August 2021. Following the scale-up of the Emergency Hunger Safety Net Programme in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera, at least one in four households are receiving 5,400 KES every two months, along with humanitarian assistance, which is driving Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. Other pastoral areas remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with the decline in rangeland resources and the poor short rains harvest limiting household access to income and food. Area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are also emerging in parts of Samburu, Baringo, Meru North, and Kitui due to the poor short rains harvest and declining rangeland resources. 

    • Crop production was significantly affected by late-onset, poor temporal distribution, and cumulatively below-average rainfall during the October to December short rains, resulting in a significantly below-average harvest. According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), the maize harvest in the marginal agricultural areas is 45-50 percent of the five-year national maize production average. There was widespread below-average crop production in the marginal agricultural areas, with crop failure in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tharaka Nithi, where maize production was 1–7 percent of the five-year average. In the marginal agricultural areas, most poor households have one to two months of food stocks, compared to a typical two to four months before household food stocks are depleted. 

    • In the pastoral areas, declining forage and water resources have kept livestock in dry season grazing areas and continuing to migrate in search of pasture and water, resulting in conflict among communities over rangeland resources. Due to starvation, disease, and long trekking distances, declining livestock health has resulted in widespread livestock deaths in pastoral counties. In Marsabit, up to 9 percent of livestock herds are estimated to have died due to the drought. The loss of livestock, below-average milk production, and declining goat-to-maize terms-of-trade across the northern and eastern pastoral areas are resulting in households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity outcomes. With around 11 percent of the 2021 Kenya Drought Appeal funded, further assistance is likely needed to save pastoral livelihoods during the forecast below-average 2022 March-May long rains.   


    Current Situation

    The below-average 2021 October to December short rains marked the third consecutive below-average rainfall season, driving significant negative impacts in both the marginal agricultural and pastoral areas. In late January to early February, findings from the Kenya Food Security Steering Group's (KFSSG) annual Short Rains Assessment indicate that the number of food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas has risen from 2.1 million in August 2021 to 3.1 million in February 2022, driven by the impacts of poor crop and livestock production, resource-based conflict, livestock disease, and mortality, effects of consecutive poor seasons, and rising costs of inputs due to the COVID-19 control measures on cross-border trade.

    Crop and livestock production: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the national maize production for the 2021 long and short rains was 2.98 and 0.26 million metric tonnes (MMT), around 88 and 47 percent of the five-year average, respectively.

    The October to December short rains are the main production season in the marginal agricultural areas, accounting for 70 percent of annual production. Households typically plant maize, beans, green grams, cowpeas, sorghum, and millet. In February 2022, apart from near-average potato production in Nyeri, the short rains crop production in the marginal agricultural areas for all rainfed crops planted was significantly below average, ranging from 35 to 87 percent below the five-year average (Figure 1). In particular, the maize crop in marginal agricultural areas was significantly below-average, ranging from 43 to 80 percent below the five-year average. Widespread maize crop failure was reported in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tharaka Nithi, where county maize production was 1 – 7 percent of the five-year average. The below-average harvest was due to households planting less land in anticipation of the below-average rainfall, lower seed stocks, and below-average rainfall throughout the short rains season. In February 2022, available maize stocks are 57 percent of the five-year average in the southeast marginal areas and are expected to last for one to two months compared to the normal two to four months. In the coastal marginal areas, household maize stocks are 2 percent of the five-year average and are expected to last one month compared to three to six months normally.

    Following heavy rainfall events in late December 2021, proxy-satellite data from the Normalized Differentiated Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicate that vegetation greenness has improved to above 140 percent of the median in the central parts of Turkana and the northwestern and southern parts of Marsabit (Figure 2). However, below-average vegetation greenness is present across most pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, with less than 60 percent of the median NDVI in the Southeastern and Coastal Marginal Mixed Farming Zones and the Northeastern, Eastern, and Southeastern Pastoral Zones. In the southeastern marginal agricultural areas, heavy rainfall in late December arrived too late for crops to recover, but it has supported household livestock holdings which are relatively lower than pastoral households. However, in pastoral areas, the rainfall in late December drove a slight recovery of forage and water resources in January, maintaining intra-county livestock migration temporarily before rangeland resources declined in February.

    According to sentinel site data from National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and field observations during the KFSSG SRA, livestock body conditions for all species across the pastoral areas except camels are below average. Livestock body conditions range from "very poor to poor" in Marsabit, Isiolo, and Mandera, while they are "fair to poor" across the rest of the counties. Camel body conditions are mostly "good" and within the average range. The below-average body conditions in pastoral areas are being driven by sustained below-average access to pasture, forage, and water and above-average trekking distances.

    Livestock return trekking distances from grazing areas to water sources are almost double the normal distances across most pastoral counties as forage and water resources continue to decline. Trekking distances range from 8 – 35 km compared to a three-year average of 4 – 12 km, apart from Tana River County, where trekking distances are within the average range of 2 – 7 km. The increasing return trekking distances continue to drive atypical migration across the pastoral areas. Livestock herders have moved to dry-season grazing areas within their respective counties and neighboring and other counties, and further crossing borders to neighboring countries like Uganda, Somalia, and Ethiopia, which is not typical for this time of the year.

    Upwards of 70 percent of livestock are estimated to have migrated, particularly out of Isiolo, Marsabit, and Turkana counties. Resource-based conflicts are occurring in the grazing areas as the different herders and communities congregate. However, the most significant conflicts have been caused by the in-migration of livestock herders into private property such as ranches and farms in the marginal agricultural areas like Laikipia, Nyandarua, Meru, Lamu, Kilifi, and Taita Taveta counties, where skirmishes have destroyed crops, property, and human fatalities.

    In January 2022, daily household milk production remains 12-50 percent below the three-year average, ranging from 0.5 – 1 liter per household per day compared to an average of 2 – 5 liters per household per day. In Turkana and parts of Marsabit, households reported no milk being produced due to poor livestock body conditions impacting productivity. However, in Tana River, milk production was 20 percent above-average at 3 liters per household per day compared to the average of 2.5 liters per household per day driven by better livestock body conditions following improvements in water and pasture resources. Relatedly, birth rates among sheep, goat, and cattle during the 2021 October to December short rains season were reported by field informants as below normal across pastoral areas due to the negative impact of the below-average 2021 March to May long rains season, which reduced conception rates and the following drought which weakened their body conditions across all livelihood zones. A high number of cattle, sheep, and goat abortions have been reported along with the death of most newborns as their mothers are not healthy enough to sustain the pregnancies and cannot produce enough milk to sustain them. For the offspring born, a large proportion died due to starvation or were killed by the livestock owners to protect the mothers from more stress.

    Despite weakened livestock body conditions and widespread migration, there were no livestock disease outbreaks, only reports of incidences of endemic diseases like Contagious Caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), Black Quarter and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), which did not cause significant fatalities. However, many livestock deaths were reported from October to December due to starvation caused by the drought, with around 6-10 percent of livestock herds estimated to have died due to the drought in Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera.

    Domestic water access: Water for household consumption is declining as return trekking distances increase and water sources continue to decline. Household trekking distances in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas range from 1-8 km compared to 1-5 km normally in Turkana, Tana River, and Isiolo, where distances are relatively lower due to the availability of groundwater sources, piped water supply, and the River Tana which flows year-round. Across the rest of the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, return trekking distances are 5-15 km compared to a normal of 1-10 km as water pans, and shallow wells have dried up, forcing households to trek further to access water for consumption. According to the USGS Water Point Viewer, water availability is below-average across most monitored water points in northern and eastern Kenya (Figure 3). However, in Turkana, most water points are around the median depth for February. The above-average trekking distances for water continue to strain households' ability to engage in other important livelihood activities due to the increased time spent fetching water.  

    Markets and trade: Given the current maize deficit of about 300,000 MT driven by below-average production over 2021, the government is likely to authorize the importation of maize from eastern and southern Africa, which will likely erase the deficit. However, given the recent conflict in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, there is the potential for disruption to global cereal and fertilizer exports from both Ukraine and Russia. The likely magnitude of these disruptions is still being analyzed as events in Ukraine unfold. Kenya typically imports GMO maize from Ukraine for livestock feed.  Kenya also typically imports maize from South Africa.

    In the urban reference markets, wholesale maize prices in January ranged from 3,177 – 4,050 KES per 90-kg bag and were on an increasing trend driven by sustained demand. Prices are 7 – 10 percent above the five-year averages in Kisumu and Nairobi due to high demand and relatively low local supply. However, maize prices are 61 percent above the average in Eldoret as farmers hold their stocks in anticipation of better prices. In the marginal agricultural areas, retail maize prices in January ranged from 40 – 45 KES per kg. Maize prices are within to below the average in Makueni, Nyeri (Kieni), and Kilifi due to available harvests, but 9 – 19 percent above the five-year averages across the rest of the monitored markets due to high demand driven by below-average harvests and low household stocks. Across the pastoral areas, maize prices range from 55 – 88 KES. Compared to December, prices are mostly stable due to incoming supplies from source markets as harvests became available. However, maize prices are 9 – 21 percent above the five-year averages across most pastoral markets due to high local demand for both human and livestock consumption and low supplies from source markets. 

    Wholesale bean prices in the urban markets range from 5,820 – 11,196 KES per 90-kg bag and are exhibiting stable to decreasing trends. The wholesale bean prices are 12 – 31 percent above the five-year averages except in Eldoret, where prices are 30 percent below average due to available local harvests. Retail bean prices range from 88 – 114 KES in the marginal agricultural areas, and trends are mostly stable to decreasing due to the availability of the ongoing harvests. However, retail bean prices remain 6 – 23 percent above average due to low household stocks and high demand.

    Goat prices remain mixed across the agropastoral and pastoral markets. In Isiolo and Baringo, goat prices are within the five-year averages, but goat prices are 11 – 36 percent below the five-year average in Nyeri, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, and Turkana driven by declining livestock body conditions and increased market supply. Across the rest of the monitored markets, goat prices are 6 – 26 percent above average, but prices are on a declining trend as rangeland resources diminish, driving worsening body conditions and increased market supply as herders try to maximize income from weakening livestock. Following the high staple food prices and below-average livestock prices across the pastoral and agropastoral markets, the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are below average, ranging from 7-44 percent below the five-year average except in Samburu, where the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are within average (Figure 4). However, in the southern pastoral zone (Kajiado and Narok counties), the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are 12-26 percent above average, supported by available pasture and water.

    COVID-19: As of February 19, 2022, Kenya has a seven-day rolling average of 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, with a testing positivity rate of 0.4 percent. According to the Ministry of Health, around 8.51 million Kenyans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19, with around 26 percent of adults fully vaccinated. There has been an increase in the administration of vaccines following a two-week campaign in February. With the declining positivity rate, likely, only the most critical COVID-19 related -restrictions (requirement of a negative COVID-19 test at borders) will persist through the end of June.  

    Interannual and emergency food assistance: In Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera counties, approximately 101,000 food-insecure households continue to receive bi-monthly cash transfers sufficient to meet up to 12 days of monthly kilocalorie needs through NDMA's Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP). An additional 95,000 households in these counties are also receiving cash transfers through the HSNP Emergency Scale-Up triggered by a severe vegetation index. A Flash Appeal was launched in September for around 139 million USD, of which around 11 percent is funded. If fully funded, an estimated 1.3 million people are expected to be targeted with humanitarian assistance in 20 arid and semi-arid areas, excluding Embu, Narok, and Nyeri, which have less severe drought risk. The Kenya Humanitarian Partnerships Team is engaging with the NDMA to ensure that the humanitarian response complements the government's planned response. In October 2021, due to funding shortfalls, WFP reduced food rations from 60 percent to 52 percent of the daily 2100 kilocalorie equivalent full ration for 440,000 refugees in Kenya. The rations, which are currently sufficient to meet up to 16 days of monthly kilocalorie needs, are expected to continue through at least June 2022. However, a pipeline break is likely if WFP cannot secure funds to support the refugee programme beyond June 2022. 

    Current food security outcomes

    Urban areas outcomes: The impacts of COVID-19 control measures remain the main driver of food insecurity for urban poor households despite gradual improvements in the economy. The scale down and shut down of key economic sectors such as hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, and transport have affected both casual skilled and unskilled labor opportunities, reducing the number of days and frequency of work significantly reducing household income. In October 2021, telephone survey data from a multi-stakeholder urban food insecurity assessment in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu indicated that livelihood and food consumption indictors such as the food consumption score (FCS), reduced coping strategy index (rCSI), household hunger sore (HHS), and livelihood coping strategies were indicative that at least one in five poor households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to below-average access to income and below-average purchasing power. Given the continued high price of commodities and food, it is likely that poor urban households continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

    Marginal agricultural area outcomes: Following the third consecutive below-average rainfall season, crop production is significantly below average across most marginal agricultural counties, reducing household food availability and income from crop sales. Households in marginal agricultural areas are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as household food access declines and households increasingly engage in consumption-based coping strategies like reducing meal frequency and food portions, eating less preferred foods, and sending household members to eat elsewhere. Following the poor harvest, household food consumption is currently stable, but food stocks are expected to last one to two months compared to the typical two to six months. However, at least one in five households in most marginal agricultural areas are engaging in livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), such as borrowing money and selling productive assets or means of transport to earn income. However, at least 20 percent of households in Kwale, Makueni, and Meru North are engaging in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) like reducing health expenses, harvesting immature crops, and consuming seed stocks.  

    Pastoral area outcomes: The below-average short rains are driving reduced livestock productivity and milk production, impacting household food consumption. High migration levels driven by below-average forage and water conditions have resulted in significantly below-average household milk availability and access. Goat-to-maize terms-of-trade, a proxy for household purchasing power, is below average across most pastoral areas due to high staple food prices and low goat prices. In January 2022, outcome indicator data collected at NDMA sentinel sites indicates that at least one in five pastoral households reported an FCS of borderline or worse, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across all pastoral areas due to below-average food and milk consumption. However, food consumption trends from November to January were mixed, with slightly increased milk consumption following slight improvements in pasture following late rains in December, but household food access is declining due to limited household income. At least 20 percent of households are also applying livelihood coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as reducing healthcare expenses and withdrawing children from school. However, households in Baringo and West Pokot counties are engaging in livelihood coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1), respectively. In February 2022, SMART nutrition surveys in the northern and eastern pastoral areas reported that the prevalence of acute malnutrition as measured by weight-for-height score (GAM WHZ) was Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9 percent), with Serious (GAM WHZ 10-14.9 percent) acute malnutrition in Tana River. Since January, the prevalence of acute malnutrition for children under the age of five has been increasing across all counties as household food access deteriorates. Across northern and eastern pastoral livelihood zones, households are reporting below-average access to food and milk with increasing reports of continued deterioration in livestock body conditions and livestock deaths, reducing the value of their main livelihood and depleting valuable assets. In particular, area-level Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes would be likely in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera in the absence of HSNP, emergency HSNP, and current humanitarian assistance. However, in Garissa, Samburu, Tana River, and parts of Baringo and Laikipia counties, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present. 


    The February to September 2022 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    •  Based on historical analogs, there is around a 60 percent likelihood that the March-May long rains in northern and eastern Kenya will be below-average. Rainfall will likely range from 60-75 percent of average in general, with deeper deficits of less than 60 percent of average in localized areas of northern pastoral Kenya. Rainfall is likely to have an uneven and delayed start and affect cropping activity in the marginal agricultural areas and forage and water regeneration in the pastoral areas. In western unimodal Kenya, the start of the February-August 2022 long rains is likely to be above average based on international and regional forecasts.
    • The 2021 short rains harvest in the marginal agricultural areas is expected to be 70 percent below the five-year average, driven by below-average rainfall and low seed availability. However, rainfall in late December is expected to support some short-cycle crop production (vegetables), but the harvest in late January to mid-February is expected to be below average.  
    • In the 2022 March to May long rains season, cereal and legume harvests are likely to be below average, driven by the forecast of below-average rainfall. However, poor households may prioritize planting more drought-tolerant crops like sorghum and green grams to maximize production, but this is dependent on the availability of seeds and fertilizer for poor households distributed by national and county governments and humanitarian agencies.
    • Forage and water resources are expected to remain below average and deteriorate faster than usual from February through late March due to above-average land surface temperatures. Below-average rangeland resource regeneration is likely during the March to May long rains, and rangeland resources will likely continue deteriorating and remain at atypically low levels from June until the start of the 2022 October-December short rains season. Below-average water resources will increase trekking distances for domestic use and livestock. 
    • Atypical migration is expected to continue through the scenario period as the below-average rangeland resources prompt some livestock to remain in the dry-season grazing areas even as the below-average March-May long rains begin. The deterioration of already below-average rangeland resources is expected to continue driving atypical migration, with some livestock likely remaining in the dry-season grazing areas while other herds travel further distances in search of pasture and water.
    • In pastoral areas, increased return trekking distances to water sources from grazing areas are expected to rapidly deteriorate livestock body conditions, reducing livestock productivity, sale values, and milk production. The reduction in productivity is expected to significantly reduce income from milk and livestock sales. Additionally, households are expected to sell more livestock and consume less milk than normal to fill food consumption and income gaps.
    • Household income in marginal agricultural areas is expected to be below average through the scenario period. In the marginal agricultural areas, the below-average 2021 short rains and 2022 long rains are expected to result in below-average crop production, which will reduce on-farm casual wage labor opportunities and crop sales, reducing household income.
    • Increased livestock migration will drive increased resource-based conflict from February through March and from June through September as the below-average forage and water resources dwindle. Conflict may occur between different clans and communities and result in the destruction of property, disruption of livelihood activities, and human fatalities.
    • According to FEWS NET technical price projections, maize prices in the Nairobi reference market are likely to follow seasonal trends and remain within average from February through April, supported by the local long rains harvest and cross-border imports from regional neighbors. However, maize prices are expected to increase to 9-30 percent above the five-year average from May through September and range from 3,000-4,650 KES due to dwindling local stocks and increased dependence on higher-priced supplies from neighboring countries.
    • Wholesale bean prices in the Nairobi reference market are expected to remain elevated and follow the seasonal trend through the scenario period. Prices are expected to range from 9,000-10,900 KES and be 17-28 percent above the five-year average. Below-average long rains production in 2021 and the expected significantly below average October-December 2021 local short rains production are expected to drive increased local demand and cross-border imports from regional neighbors, driving prices upwards.
    • As the COVID-19 vaccination rate increases, COVID-19 related restrictions will likely be gradually lifted through the scenario period improving economic activity. Increased economic activity supported by the government's Post COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Programme will likely improve income-earning opportunities and household food access for urban poor households.
    • Based on trends of high and worsening malnutrition based on the review of proxy malnutrition data, including admission numbers to feeding program and MUAC surveillance data for September to December 2021, unusually high acute malnutrition but within typical Critical (GAM 15-29.9 percent) levels will be sustained throughout this period in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, and Turkana counties, and in North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties in Marsabit, and Tiaty Sub County in Baringo County. Reduced food intake and low milk consumption are expected to be the main contributory factors for acute malnutrition. Additionally, high morbidity, including elevated diarrheal illness from drinking inadequate and unsafe water and compromised hygiene and sanitation conditions due to the extended dry conditions, will also aggravate acute malnutrition.
    • Political activity related to the August 2022 General Elections will likely disrupt or restrict normal income-earning opportunities, especially in urban areas, in the months leading up to the election. Working days are likely to be disrupted due to political rallies, demonstrations, unrest, and voting on election day. These disruptions will likely result in reductions in household income, reducing household food access.
    • Humanitarian assistance is ongoing in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu counties. Safety nets such as Cash Transfer-Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT), Persons With Severe Disability - Cash Transfer (PWSD – CT) continue to provide approximately 59,000 targeted households across these three counties with 2,000 KES each month.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In the urban areas, the projected economic recovery will gradually occur in 2022 and provide relatively more income-earning opportunities. However, income-earning opportunities will likely still be below pre-COVID-19 levels. The presence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, and other possible emerging variants, will likely continue resulting in more confirmed cases. Associated health impacts such as poor health, missed workdays, associated costs for treatment, and loss of income will be experienced, with the likely maintenance of current COVID-19 containment measures through at least May 2022. High petroleum and electricity prices are likely to increase the costs of food and non-food commodities. The below-average March to May long rains will reduce crop harvests and increase staple food prices from mid-to late-March, further reducing household food access. Urban poor households are likely to remain in debt to money lenders due to sending remittances to rural households. Political activity will increase as the August general elections approach, and related activities such as meetings and rallies disrupt economic activities reducing household income. The increased vaccination rates will likely mitigate any significant spikes in COVID-19 infection numbers despite increased gatherings. High demand for staple food commodities caused by low supplies and the ongoing drought will likely maintain staple food prices at above-average levels forcing at least 20 percent of households in the informal urban settlements to continually apply consumption-based coping strategies and livelihood coping strategies such as asset stripping and continued dependence on credit facilities indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3). A small proportion of the worse-off households, having exhausted their coping and having no savings to use, no assets to sell, and limited options to borrow money or food, might be forced to engage in illicit trades indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    In marginal agricultural areas, households will be temporarily food secure as the below-average short rains harvests become available; however, this will be short-lived as the harvest is below average. Households are unlikely to sell the harvest for income, resulting in a significant income deficit. Household food stocks are low and likely to last through mid-March before depleting. Food access from markets is likely to be constrained by low-income as below-average cropping and harvesting activities and below-average crop sales force households to intensify non-agricultural income-earning opportunities. From early March, cropping activities for the March to May long rains will commence, but at likely below-average levels given the below-average forecast. A below-average March to May long rains will likely result in below-average crop acreage and wage labor opportunities through April. In May and July, the below-average short cycle and main crop harvests will improve household food availability temporarily. With below-average harvests expected, households will resort to intensifying other income sources such as non-agricultural casual labor, charcoal and firewood sales, and remittances along with consumption and livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes such as borrowing money/food from a formal lender, selling of household assets, and reducing non -food expenditures like healthcare. Extended periods of below-average food and income will result in below-average food access and food consumption, likely resulting in increasing malnutrition rates in children under five years of age. Households are expected to be able to meet their food needs but unable to meet their non-food needs and be Stressed (IPC Phase 2); however, in parts of Kitui and Meru (Meru North) counties, at least 20 percent of households will be unable to meet their basic food needs without engaging in unsustainable coping strategies and will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the scenario period.

    In pastoral areas, below-average household milk availability is expected to persist as livestock herds remain away from homesteads. Income from livestock sales will also remain below average due to below-average livestock body conditions, and increased market supply lowers livestock prices. Rangeland resources will decline and drive livestock, including the remaining herds, to the dry season grazing areas and further search for forage and water resources, reducing livestock productivity and household milk access. In late March, the forecasted below-average March to May long rains are expected to drive short-term improvements in rangeland resources and livestock body conditions in April and May. Slight improvements to livestock body conditions and productivity will increase household access to food and income, improving food security at least through mid-June. However, from late June, livestock productivity and sale value are likely to decline, further reducing household income and forcing households to depend on non-livestock income sources like construction, petty trade, and charcoal and firewood sales, which are likely to be below average due to increased competition and a constrained economy driven by the drought, COVID-19, and high fuel prices. Households will begin to intensively apply coping strategies at the early onset of the lean season, including reducing the number of meals and portion sizes, sending children to eat elsewhere, withdrawing children from school, reducing expenditures on healthcare, selling more animals than usual, and sale of last female animals, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and worse outcomes. Food insecurity is set to increase through September, and livestock are likely to deteriorate in health. Already below-average herd sizes are expected to further decline due to livestock deaths if no interventions occur. Acute malnutrition rates are expected to be high but within typical Critical levels (GAM15-29.9 percent) throughout the entire scenario period in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana counties, North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties in Marsabit, and Tiaty Sub County in Baringo County. Through September 2022, at least one in five households will be unable to meet their minimum food needs with Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) area-level outcomes are expected to persist in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera due to national safety nets and humanitarian assistance mitigating worse food insecurity outcomes. However, in Garissa, Samburu, Tana River, and parts of Baringo and Laikipia counties, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist with the most-affected households likely to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.


    Table 1. Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario. 

    AreaEventImpact on Food security outcomes
    NationalAverage to above-average March to May long rainsAverage to above-average rainfall will drive a significant recovery of livestock body conditions in the pastoral areas, resulting in improved production and income for pastoral households. Many pastoral households will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Above-average rainfall will also support crop production activities in marginal agricultural areas, improving household income from March to May, and food availability in July, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.
    NationalIncreased humanitarian assistanceIf the Flash Appeal for Kenya is fully funded, there will be sufficient funds to implement necessary interventions in the food security and livelihoods sector. Sufficient funding will likely help prevent households face worse food insecurity outcomes. Increased humanitarian assistance will likely drive Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes in the pastoral and marginal areas, along with increased resilience to future shocks. 
    NationalGovernment sanctioned maize imports

    If the government sanctions the importation of maize from southern Africa and Mexico, it will significantly improve national maize availability, lowering prices to average to slightly below-average levels. Lower staple food prices will improve household purchasing power and food access. In pastoral areas, livestock prices are expected to continue declining, but Regular and Emergency HSNP will support household food access, driving Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes.

    Northeastern Pastoral Livelihood Zone Near average-to-average March to May rainsNear-average to average March to May rains will improve water and forage resources and the health and production of livestock. Improvements in livestock body conditions will increase the sale value of livestock, especially small stock, increasing household income and food access. Improved livestock productivity will improve milk production and household food consumption, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 
    Northwestern and Northern Pastoral Livelihood ZoneAbsence of humanitarian assistanceIf Emergency HSNP Scale-up and other humanitarian assistance are discontinued between June and September due to lack of funding or the anticipated heightened political activities ahead of the general elections in August, poor household incomes and food access will be significantly constrained, driving area-level Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

    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. 


    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1.

    Source: Kenya Food Security Steering Group

    Figure 3

    Figure 2.

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 4

    Figure 3.

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 5

    Figure 4.

    Source: FEWS NET using data from NDMA

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top