Food Security Outlook

Below average staple food prices mitigating declining household food availability

June 2021 to January 2022

June - September 2021

October 2021 - January 2022

IPC v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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 v3.0 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.

Key Messages

  • The cumulatively below-average March to May short rains across eastern and northern Kenya resulted in below-average crop production activities and associated income from agricultural casual labor activities. In the pastoral areas, below-average regeneration of forage has affected livestock productivity, reflected in declining livestock prices. Below average incomes and household food sources drive mostly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across the country and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in northern Kenya.

  • As indicated by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), vegetation conditions are over 140 percent of average in north, northwest, southern Kenya, and parts of northeast Kenya (Figure 2). In central and western Kenya, vegetation greenness is 105-130 percent of the average, while eastern Kenya is 75-90 percent of normal, with localized areas along the coast at less than 60 percent of the average. Water availability for livestock across the pastoral areas, apart from Marsabit and Wajir counties, is low and 22-72 percent above average as rangeland resources diminish. This has resulted in increasing livestock migration and declining livestock body condition trends.

  • Staple food prices across the country showed declining trends due to increases in supply from cross-border imports. Maize prices in May were 11-28 percent above the five-year average in Nyeri, Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa due to increased demand for human and livestock consumption and high marketing costs. Maize prices, however, ranged from average and 9-30 percent below average across all markets stabilized by cross-border imports and availability of some substitutes like cassava. In May, dry bean prices were within the five-year average in Taita Taveta and 9-10 percent below average in Kisumu and Eldoret due to a combination of cross-border imports and available local long rains harvests. Across the rest of the markets, bean prices were 9-22 percent above average, driven by sustained demand and low supplies. 

  • As of June 29, Kenya has 183,603 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a seven-day rolling average of 534 daily confirmed COVID-19 cases. On June 17, due to the detection of three new COVID-19 variants and a steady increase in confirmed daily cases, thirteen counties in western Kenya were placed under additional containment measures, including longer curfew hours, a 30-day closure of nonfood and livestock markets, and the prohibition of public functions and gatherings. Across the rest of the country, the previous restrictions continue. The COVID-19 restrictions are driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes among the urban poor as below-average access to income results in households engaging in unsustainable coping strategies to bridge income and food consumption gaps.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

CURRENT SITUATION

The below-average March to May long rains were characterized by a late-onset, poor distribution, and timely cessation. According to CHIRPS satellite data, rainfall was cumulatively 95-130 percent of normal in most northwestern, western, and central Kenya, and Mandera County. However, northern, eastern, and southeastern Kenya received less than 85 percent of normal rainfall. The cumulatively below-average rainfall across most of the country resulted in below-average crop production activities and below-average regeneration of forage, driving mostly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across the country and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in northeastern Kenya.

Crop and livestock production: According to field observations and the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Security Report for May 2021, countrywide crop conditions are varied following the late-onset (up to three dekads) of the March to May long rains across the country and their early to timely cessation. In the high and medium rainfall areas, the maize crop is in good condition and mostly in the vegetative stage. In the lower altitude and warmer areas of western Kenya, the maize is also in the tasselling stages. There are reports Fall Army Worm (FAW) infestations of maize crop in Trans Nzoia, Baringo, West Pokot, Uasin Gishu, and Nandi estimated at 5 percent of the crop area, and in Kiambu and Kirinyaga counties of central Kenya where 20-60 percent of crop area is infested. However, farmers are employing chemical control measures using recommended pesticides. Beans are at flowering to pod formation stages of development in central Kenya, while in western Kenya and Nyanza bean crop stages range from flowering to maturity, with harvesting ongoing in Kisumu, Homabay, and Siaya. The bean crop is generally in good condition; however, in central Kenya, 30 percent of the crop that mostly lies in prone areas is affected by bean flies and rust; however, the impact on yields is unknown.

In the marginal agricultural areas, the crops grown include maize, beans, cowpea, green grams, sorghum, millet, and cassava. Crops are in various stages across the zone, with grains varying from knee-high to grain-filling stages, while pulses vary from the flowering to podding stages but are of fair to poor conditions. However, in Kwale, land preparation and germination were ongoing in May.  The late rainfall onset, dry spells, and timely cessation affected crop production significantly by shortening the cropping season. The crop is showing signs of moisture stress in Kitui, Makueni, Meru (Meru North), Kilifi, and Taita Taveta, with the area planted reduced significantly in Kitui and Makueni as the crop failed. However, in Nyeri (Kieni), Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), and Kwale counties, crop conditions range from fair to good for grains and pulses.

According to the proxy-satellite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the pasture and browse conditions are over 140 percent of average in north, northwest, southern Kenya, and parts of northeast Kenya (Figure 2). In central and western Kenya, vegetation greenness is 105-130 percent of the average, while eastern Kenya is 75-90 percent of normal, with localized areas along the coast at less than 60 percent of the average. Livestock return trekking distances from grazing to water sources are 10.5-23.8 km across the pastoral areas, approximately 22-72 percent above average as rangeland resources diminish. However, trekking distances are 12 percent below average in Wajir and within average in Marsabit. Consequently, livestock body conditions are below average across most pastoral areas but average in Garissa and Mandera. For all species, livestock body conditions are 'fair' in Turkana, 'fair-to-poor' in Isiolo, Garissa, and Wajir, 'fair-to-good' in Mandera, and 'good-to-fair' in Marsabit as rangeland resources in northern and eastern Kenya deteriorate. Livestock migration remains mostly with each county, with livestock moving towards dry season grazing areas earlier than normal as herders seek better rangeland resources for their herds. Outmigration has been witnessed in Garissa, with livestock moving to Wajir, Lamu, and Meru counties and across the border to Somalia. In Wajir, livestock from Isiolo and Garissa counties are migrating towards Wajir South and Wajir West.

According to NDMA sentinel site data for May, household water availability is mostly below average as return trekking distances to domestic water sources increased across pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. Return trekking distances were 72-100 percent above the average in Garissa, Wajir, and Kilifi. However, in Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), Nyeri (Kieni), and Kitui, trekking distances were 19-27 percent below-average due to relatively better rainfall and recharge of water sources. Overall, trekking distances ranged between 2.4-8.4 km but are lowest in Nyeri at  0.9 km and highest in Mandera at 10.3 km. Similarly, the USGS Water Point Viewer indicates that most water points are dry across Meru, Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit. The longer trekking distances to water sources limit engagement in other livelihood activities such as casual labor, crop sales, and charcoal burning, reducing opportunities for obtaining food and income.

As of May 2021, an ongoing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in Tana River is impacting Tana Delta, Garsen Central, Garsen South, and Kipini East and West sub-counties. However, the number of livestock impacted is not currently known.

As rangeland resources and livestock productivity decline,  there has been an increase in resource-based conflict in May, particularly in the dry season grazing areas of Kom in Isiolo North sub-county and in the Tana Delta areas of Tana River county where 28 cattle fatalities and one human fatality have been reported. Conflicts have also been reported between livestock herders and farmers in Sala, Nanighi, Saka, Kipini, Chara, and Kilelengwani areas of Tana River. Additionally, inter-community conflicts were reported in Lagdera sub-county, Garissa, which is currently being resolved. In early June, livestock from 50 households in Turkana in a banditry attack, resulting in more than 6,000 people fleeing their homes. To restore calm, a 30-day curfew is ongoing in parts of Baringo and Turkana. In the areas bordering the Republic of Somalia, terror-related threats continue to limit livelihood activities.

Milk production: In May, milk production across the pastoral areas ranged from 1.3 -2.5 liters per household per day, around 17-43 percent below the three-year average, driven by declining livestock body conditions and migration. However, in Turkana, milk production and consumption was exceptionally low at 0.3 liters per household per day, 87 percent below the three-year average due to migration and below-average livestock body conditions. In Wajir and Mandera, milk consumption ranges from 1.0-1.7 liters per household per day and is within average; however, milk consumption was 13-37 percent below average across the rest of the pastoral areas.

Markets and Trade: According to the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Security Report for May 2021, the estimated domestic stocks are 16.5 million (90 kg) bags of maize and 4.9 million 90 kg bags of beans. The Food Balance Sheet, projected through August 2021, shows a surplus of around 11.9 million bags of maize and 4 million (90 kg) bags of beans. Wholesale staple food price trends in the urban reference markets of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret remain varied due to different drivers. In May, wholesale maize prices were 20-30 percent below the five-year average driven by a combination of above-average cross-border imports by traders and the dumping of stock by traders and farmers into the markets. According to the Ministry of Agriculture statistics, maize imports between January and May stand at 1,381,990 (90 kg) bags compared to 495,813 (90 kg) bags for the same period last year, resulting in a maize surplus expected to last through August 2021. In Eldoret and Kisumu, the price trends since the beginning of the year have been stable, while in Nairobi and Mombasa, prices have gradually declined, supported by the short and long rain harvests and cross-border imports. The prices are lower than last year, attributed to the reduced impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on market supply chains.

Retail maize prices in May in the marginal and pastoral areas were 11 percent above the five year-average in the Nyeri (Kieni) market due to depleted household stocks and increased demand, and 18-28 percent above the five-year average in Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa markets due to increased demand for human and livestock consumption, and marketing costs. In Marsabit and Isiolo, the retail maize prices were within the five-year average stabilized by cross-border imports from Ethiopia and supplies from Meru. Maize prices were 9-13 percent below the five-year average across the marginal agricultural areas driven by the availability of cross-border imports from Tanzania, and 15 and 24 percent below the five-year average in Turkana and Kilifi, respectively, supported by supplies from Trans Nzoia county and the availability of maize substitutes like cassava. Across marginal agricultural areas, maize prices are lower than respective prices last year, supported by increased cross-border imports. However, in the pastoral areas, maize prices are higher due to increased marketing costs and relatively lower supplies from the source markets in Ethiopia.

Wholesale bean prices in May were 9-10 percent below average in Kisumu and Eldoret markets driven by the local long rains harvest and cross-border imports from Uganda, while bean prices were 13-22 percent above the five-year average in Nairobi and Mombasa due to sustained demand and high supply prices, particularly from cross-border imports from source markets. According to the Ministry of Agriculture statistics, between January and May 2021, 287,031 bags (90kg) bags of beans were imported compared to 215,014 bags (90kg) of beans last year. Overall, bean prices are gradually decreasing across all markets, except in Mombasa, where bean prices sharply increased following low supplies from Tanzania before the beginning of the unimodal Msimu harvest. Bean retail prices were within the five-year average in Taita Taveta supported by cross-border imports, but across the rest of the marginal areas, prices were 9-17 percent above the five-year average due to high demand and limited supply. Although bean prices are declining, they largely remain above the five-year average due to low carryover stocks from below-average production locally and regionally in 2020. In Kisumu and Mombasa, prices are lower than last year due to improvements in the supply chain and better production across the East Africa region. However, in Nairobi and Eldoret, prices are relatively similar to 2020, driven by high demand and high marketing costs in Nairobi. In Eldoret, below-average production in 2020 is also anticipated in 2021. Across the marginal areas, prices in May are higher than last year, driven by increased demand and dependence on the commodity from external source markets.

Goat prices in May were within the five-year average in Turkana as livestock body conditions improved with rangeland regeneration, but goat prices are 10 percent below the five-year average in Wajir driven by fair to poor livestock body conditions. Across the rest of the pastoral areas, goat prices were 7-14 percent above the five-year average due to peak livestock body conditions driven by the long rains and limited supply as households seek to restock their herds. The goat-to-maize terms of trade, a proxy for household purchasing power, is 9-24 percent below the five-year average in Wajir, Mandera, and Garissa, driven by below-average goat prices in Wajir, and above-average maize prices in Mandera and Garissa. However, the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade was 8-13 percent above the five-year average in the rest of the pastoral areas, driven by above-average goat prices and average to below-average maize prices. However, compared to last year, livestock prices in 2021 are lower due to consecutive below-average rainfall seasons and a significant decline in livestock body conditions.

Desert Locusts: According to FAO's May Desert Locust Bulletin, surveys continued in northern and central counties and no locusts were reported. However, small groups of adults may be present in late June if any remnant populations in the north bred.

COVID-19: As of June 22, Kenya has a seven-day rolling average of 534 daily confirmed COVID-19 cases, around double the number from early June. The nationwide vaccination drive continues with the elderly ad essential workers receiving their second dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. In June, Denmark donated 350,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to be administered before their expiry on July 31. In early June, the SARS-CoV-2, Alpha, and Beta COVID-19 variants were detected in patients in Migori County in Western Kenya. On June 17, the government announced containment measures for 13 western counties as the high number of infections made up 60 percent of the national caseload, with positivity rates of 21 percent compared to 9 percent nationally. The containment measures in this hotspot zone include a 7 pm to 4 am curfew, discouraging movement between the containment zone and the rest of the country except for essential and emergency service providers, a 30-day suspension of weekly nonfood markets and livestock markets, mandatory negative COVID-19 test results for cross-border cargo drivers and a limit of two persons per vehicle, and the prohibition/suspension of all public gatherings and in-person meetings including sporting activities, night vigils, and worship activities.  As a result, poor urban household's income is expected to be further affected by the shorter business operation hours and the closure of markets, and the prohibition of public gatherings. These households will likely face reduced income and food access, increasing food insecurity.   

Interannual and emergency food assistance: NDMA's Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) continues to provide bi-monthly cash transfers equivalent to 40 percent of total food needs to over 100,000 food-insecure households across Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera counties. According to the World Food Programme (WFP) May brief, WFP provided over 9,513 metric tons of food and approximately 3.2 million USD in the form of cash-based transfers to 846,060 people.

CURRENT FOOD SECURITY OUTCOMES

Urban areas outcomes: After over a year of constrained income opportunities in casual labor and small businesses, poor urban households continue to face limited household purchasing power, impacting food access and sustaining Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Urban poor households continue to engage in negative livelihood coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), with the worst affected households employing at least one coping strategy indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) such as begging or prostitution. Based on historical data and the sustained below-average purchasing power and access to food, the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) as measured by the weight-by-height Z-score (WHZ) among the children under five years of age ranges between Acceptable (GAM WHZ <5 percent) and Alert (GAM WHZ 5-9.9 percent) in the informal settlements.

Marginal agricultural area outcomes: In the marginal areas, maize prices remain below average, helping maintain food access despite depleted household food stocks and below-average income from agricultural wage labor activities. According to data from NDMA sentinel sites, in May 2021, FCS scores deteriorated in Makueni, Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), and Nyeri (Kieni) but remained stable or improved across other marginal agricultural counties. Apart from Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), Kilifi, and Taita Taveta counties, at least 20 percent of households reported a borderline or worse FCS. Households continue to apply consumption coping strategies such as reducing meal portion sizes and frequency, using less preferred or less expensive food, and borrowing from neighbors. Trends in coping strategies as measured by the reduced coping strategy index (rCSI) remain stable in Taita Taveta and Kwale but worsened across the zone as households increased the application of consumption-based coping strategies. In Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), households are engaged in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) while households across the rest of the zone are engaged in coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Due to the depleted household food stocks and reduced income from crop production activities, household food and income remain constrained, but below-average maize prices maintain area-level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

Pastoral area outcomes: A slight improvement in forage and water resources following heavy rainfall in late April to early May slowed the deterioration of forage and water resources for around a month, stabilizing livestock body conditions and milk production. However, as rangeland resources begin to rapidly deteriorate with the start of the dry season,  increased livestock migration is reducing household milk availability and consumption. Although livestock body conditions are largely below-average, livestock prices remain average to above-average, maintaining goat-to-maize terms-of-trade and household purchasing power across most pastoral areas. According to May NDMA sentinel site data, apart from Mandera, at least 20 percent of pastoral households reported at least borderline or worse FCS driven by below-average milk consumption and above-average maize prices. In Marsabit and Turkana, households are applying consumption-based coping strategies like borrowing food from friends or relatives and reducing the frequency and quantity of meals, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as measured by rCSI. Across other pastoral zones, households consumption coping strategies are largely indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as measured by rCSI. Consequently, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present across pastoral areas driven by below-average forage resources, increased migration, increased cases of conflict and insecurity, and reduced household access to income and food.

Assumptions

The June 2021 to January 2022 most likely food security outcomes are based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Despite the ongoing vaccination drive, a limited vaccine supply is expected to slow down vaccination rates. COVID-19 related restrictions are likely to remain in place through at least the first half of the scenario period, impacting household income and food access significantly. However, some of these restrictions are expected to be lifted in October as vaccination rates increase and boost the economy to improve household income-earning opportunities and food security.
  • Kenya's GDP is expected to grow by 6.9 percent in 2021, however household incomes are expected to remain below average through the scenario period as below-average income-earning opportunities and above-average unemployment persist.
  • During the March-May 2021 long rains, cumulative rainfall is most likely to be less than 50 percent to 85 percent of average in northern and eastern Kenya, driving severe cumulative rainfall deficits in coastal and northern Kenya. In western Kenya, cumulative rainfall during the February-August 2021 long rains season is most likely to be above average. Based on the NMME and WMO forecast, average rainfall is likely from June to August. In Turkana, despite the below-average start of the season, the forecast above-average rainfall is most likely to result in cumulatively above-average rainfall during the March-September 2021 season.   
  • In marginal agricultural areas of southeastern Kenya, crop water stress is expected during critical grain-filling stages in May, driving below-average yields. However, in western Kenya, the long rains agricultural production is expected to be average.
  • Below-average rainfall and dry conditions have mitigated locust breeding and slowed down hatching. A few small residual infestations may remain near the Rift Valley and parts of northern Kenya. Limited breeding could occur in sandy areas in the north that receive rainfall in May, causing low numbers of small hopper groups and bands to form.  There remains a low risk that desert locusts could spread into Uganda and South Sudan based on swarm presence in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia.
  • Due to below-average March to May long rains, partial regeneration of forage and water resources is expected in the pastoral areas, with rangeland resources remaining below average. From June onwards, high temperatures are expected to drive a rapid deterioration of these resources. The forecast below-average October to December short rains are expected to provide only short-lived improvements in rangeland resources followed by a rapid degradation driven by overgrazing and above-average temperatures through January.
  • Due to below-average rainfall and rangeland resources, low livestock conception and birth rates are expected from mid-November, driving below-average household milk availability and related income throughout the scenario period. 
  • From June to September 2021, acute malnutrition rates are expected to worsen due to extended periods of reduced food access from poor and delayed crop harvests in marginal agricultural areas and low access to milk and income in pastoral counties. However, from October 2021-January 2022, the long rains harvest and improved milk production and consumption from the short rains are expected to improve acute malnutrition rates. In pastoral areas, higher but Critical (GAMWHZ 15-29.9 percent) levels of acute malnutrition will remain prevalent throughout the scenario period. In the marginal agricultural areas, Acceptable (GAMWHZ <5 percent) to Alert (GAMWHZ 5-9.9 percent) levels of acute malnutrition will remain prevalent through the scenario period.
  • According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), livestock prices will likely remain stable and below-to-near the five-year average compared to 2020 as below-average rainfall is expected to result in declining rangeland and livestock body conditions.
  • Despite continued COVID-19 restriction measures at cross-border points and new regulations for better control of aflatoxin in maize imports are not expected to constrain cross-border trade between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania as traders have ample time to comply before the next harvest. Informal cross-border trade is likely to intensify and increase the volumes of supplies crossing the border informally.
  • According to FEWS NET technical price projections, maize prices in the urban reference market of Nairobi are expected to follow seasonal trends, however, at depressed levels. Maize prices are forecast to range from 2,300-2,800 KES and remain 17-28 percent below average throughout the scenario period driven by above-average production in Uganda and average long rains harvests from the high and medium rainfall areas from October. Bean prices are expected to follow seasonal trends at elevated levels through the scenario period driven by low carryover stocks and anticipated below-average production. Bean prices are expected to range from 8,300-9,800 KES and be 21-26 percent above the five-year average.
  • Humanitarian assistance is expected to continue across the country as vulnerable and food-insecure households are supported by a combination of national and county governments and humanitarian agencies. The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) is expected to provide cash transfers equivalent to 33 percent of daily kilocalorie needs to 100,000 households in Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, and Wajir. Government monthly cash transfers are also expected to support 2.15 million households with orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly, and persons with severe disabilities. WFP is expected to provide humanitarian assistance through in-kind food and cash transfers to approximately 130,000 households through its Sustainable Food Systems Programme and assistance equivalent to 60 percent of daily kilocalorie needs to the approximately 400,000 people in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee settlements. WFP  is expected to transition into an urban strategy to create opportunities for urban livelihoods and provide nutritional support to the urban poor after concluding its urban response in Nairobi and Mombasa counties, where 378,000 people were targeted with cash and nutrition assistance.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

In urban areas, between June and September, the COVID-19 restrictions are likely to maintain low labor demand and income-earning opportunities in the formal and informal sectors, sustaining below-average incomes among poor urban households. The purchasing capacity and food access for urban poor households will remain below-average despite the anticipated average to below-average staple food prices. To bridge income deficits and narrow food gaps, households are expected to continue relying on formal and informal credit facilities such as digital/online/mobile lenders and shopkeepers at atypically high levels. As a result, poor households will continue employing coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), such as borrowing cash from relatives, purchasing food on credit, and reliance on formal and informal credit facilities. At least one in five poor households will continue to engage in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as selling productive assets, while the worst affected households are likely to continue engaging in coping strategies indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4), such as prostitution and the illegal sale of alcohol. From October, the anticipated easing of COVID-19 restrictions will improve labor availability and income-earning opportunities, particularly in construction, manufacturing and processing, small retail shops, transportation and storage, wholesale and retail, artisans (garages, wood and metal workshops), and hospitality. However, the likely slow pace of economic recovery will sustain below-average incomes among poor urban households. Although staple prices are projected to be average to below average, limited incomes and the high household indebtedness will continue to constrain household purchasing capacities and access to food. As a result, poor households will continue employing coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), such as borrowing cash from relatives, purchasing food on credit, and relying on formal and informal credit facilities. The worst affected households are likely to continue engaging in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to meet their food and non-food needs.

In marginal agricultural areas, the lean season is expected to begin early with an earlier-than-normal depletion of food stocks that will intensify market dependence. However, households are expected to meet their food needs supported by below-average maize prices and available cowpeas and green grams to substitute for the higher-priced beans. The expected below-average long rains harvest in July will provide short-term improvements to household food availability, with the harvest likely to last to mid-August compared to September typically.  Nutrition levels will likely remain Acceptable (GAM WHZ <5 percent) due to the access of staple foods from markets and the availability of fast-maturing crops like vegetables and legumes during the cropping season. However, Alert (GAM WHZ 5-9.9 percent) levels are likely in some counties during the June to September lean season. Due to below-average household income from agricultural casual wage labor and crop sales, poor households will increasingly rely on charcoal and firewood sales, petty trade, and remittances for income. From October, the forecasted below-average short rains are expected to constrain crop production activities and household income from agricultural wage labor, forcing households to increasingly rely on coping strategies like borrowing food, reducing meal sizes, using less preferred or less expensive food,  purchasing food on credit, and using savings to bridge food consumption gaps.  Most marginal agricultural areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in Kitui, southern Embu (Mbeere), southern Makueni, and northern Meru (Meru North) counties between June and September following two consecutive below-average harvests.

In the pastoral areas, the accelerated deterioration of rangeland resources will drive an early start of the lean season and increase livestock migration to dry-season grazing areas and further into neighboring counties, resulting in conflicts. As trekking distances increase, livestock body conditions and productivity are expected to decline. Livestock disease outbreaks are likely to increase as livestock congregates in common dry season grazing and watering areas, and resultant livestock deaths will erode livelihood assets for the pastoralist households. However, livestock prices are likely to remain above average through September, mitigating the above-average staple food prices. Although non-livestock income-earning opportunities are likely to be below-average, households will increase their dependence on income from casual labor, charcoal and firewood sales, and petty trade. Households are also expected to increase their dependence on purchasing food with credit, support from government safety nets, and emergency food assistance. From July onwards, households are likely to intensify consumption and livelihood-based coping strategies, with at least one in five households applying coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse in Turkana, Isiolo, parts of Wajir, Garissa, Samburu, and Marsabit counties. From late October, the below-average October to December short rains will bring about short-lived improvements to the rangeland resources, keeping livestock in the dry season grazing and maintaining low milk availability for households. By December, any remaining livestock at the households will migrate, significantly reducing household access to income from livestock and milk sales. Overall, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist in Northwestern, Northern, Northeastern, Southeastern pastoral livelihood zones through the scenario period. However, a small proportion of the most affected poor households will likely be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and require urgent action to save their livelihoods and lives.

Events that Might Change the Outlook

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

Area Event Impact on food security conditions
National

Extension of stricter COVID-19 control measures

Extending the stricter COVID-19 control restrictions in the hotspot counties will continue to constrain income-earning activities and household income, especially in the urban areas. The loss of income will severely impact household purchasing power and increase the proportions of the urban poor households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes.
Northeastern Pastoral Livelihood Zone in Mandera and Wajir Counties Average October to December short rains

Average short rains will regenerate forage and water resources and drive improvements in livestock conditions and productivity. The improvement in household food and income access will likely lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes from December.

Northeastern Pastoral Livelihood Zone in Mandera and Wajir Counties Boosting of security in the Kenya-Somalia border zones by the national security agencies If the national security agencies improve security along the Kenya-Somalia border zones, this will likely enable uninterrupted livelihood activities and normal market operations. With better access to food, income, and humanitarian assistance, poor households will likely face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. 
Southeastern Marginal Agricultural Areas  Average  October to December short rains Average 2021 October to December short rains will support crop production and improve the green harvest in January 2022. Similarly, the regeneration of rangeland resources will drive significant improvements in livestock body conditions and productivity, improving household milk availability. Resource-based conflict is also likely to decline. The improvements in food availability and access will significantly reduce the proportion of poor households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
Southeastern Marginal Agricultural Areas  Implementation of stricter COVID-19 control measures A resurgence of COVID-19 cases will likely result in stricter control measures internally and at cross-border points. The resulting supply chain delays will increase prices to higher than currently projected levels, impacting household purchasing power.

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 approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
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Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics