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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will likely persist in the absence of a scale-up of food assistance

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Kenya
  • June 2022 - January 2023
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will likely persist in the absence of a scale-up of food assistance

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  • Key Messages
  • Assumptions
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • The March to May long rains marked the fourth below-average season across most of eastern Kenya. The continuous decline in livestock productivity and crop production is resulting in below-average food availability. Livestock deaths due to the drought and crop failure continue to constrain household food availability and income, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in the pastoral areas and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the marginal agricultural areas. 

    • In May, the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) conducted an IPC acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition projection update for May and June 2022, determining that 4.1 million Kenyans in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) are acutely food insecure. This estimate is around 32 percent higher than the initial projection from the Short Rains IPC assessment in February 2022. The acute malnutrition analysis reported that about 942,500 children under five years old and 134,270 pregnant and lactating mothers are acutely malnourished and likely require treatment. The rise in acute malnutrition is likely driven by increasing food insecurity, along with reduced milk consumption, increased morbidity, and poor child-care practices. 

    • Provisional data results for the Long Rains IPC suggest that severe deterioration in food consumption and acute malnutrition is occurring, following the below-average March to May long rains. Outcomes are likely to worsen to increasingly severe levels by July, despite plans for some food aid distributions. This trend, coupled with the forecast of a historic, fifth consecutive poor rainfall season in late 2022, raises concerns for a Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) across northern pastoral Kenya. As analyses of the new data are still ongoing, FEWS NET is still assessing whether there is a credible alternative scenario in which a Famine (IPC Phase 5) could occur in Kenya. Analysis addressing this question will be provided in the August FSOU.

    • High staple food prices are constraining household purchasing power and food access in both urban and rural areas. Staple food prices currently range from 22 to 63 percent above average for maize and 12 to 44 percent above average for beans. High prices are driven by below-average production in 2021/2022, expected below-average production for 2022/2023, high market demand due to low household stocks, high inflation, and bottlenecks at the Kenya-Tanzania border following the enforcement of Tanzania’s export permits. On July 18, the Ministry of Agriculture provided a 60 percent subsidy to a two-kilogram maize flour packet, lowering the price from 250 KES to 100 KES through August 15.  

    • Across the marginal agricultural areas, the below-average and poorly distributed long rains resulted in below-average planted acreage and moisture stress, with crop failure observed in Taita Taveta, Makueni, Kitui, Tharaka, and Embu (Mbeere). The reduced cropping activities are resulting in below-average food availability and income from crop sales and casual wage labor opportunities, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across the marginal areas, with area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru North. 

    • Below-average forage and water resources in the pastoral areas continue to drive fair to poor livestock body conditions and high levels of migration, resulting in below-average milk production and sale values. With livestock remaining in distant grazing areas away from homesteads, milk access is particularly low for women, children, and the elderly. Milk consumption is 50-90 percent below the three-year average across pastoral areas. Additionally, below-normal livestock body conditions and high maize prices have driven the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade down by 28-42 percent below the five-year average. Although humanitarian assistance likely supported Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes in northern and northeastern pastoral livelihood zones in June, the continued loss of livestock, below-average herd sizes, and falling household purchasing power are likely to lead to increasingly widespread Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. A scale-up of food and nutrition assistance is required through at least January 2023 to prevent further deterioration in levels of acute malnutrition and avert an increase in hunger-related mortality.


    Current Situation

    The March to May long rains performance was largely below average across Kenya, marking the fourth consecutive below average season, with little to no improvement in acute food insecurity outcomes in the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. An update to the 2021/2022 Short Rains IPC analysis carried out by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) determined that the number of food insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas has risen from 3.1 million in February 2022 to over 4.1 million in May 2022, driven by the impacts of the below average March to May long rains, resource-based conflict, and above-average staple food prices. Ongoing humanitarian assistance, particularly in the northern and eastern pastoral areas is currently mitigating a more severe deterioration.

    Crop and livestock production: The below-average seasonal rainfall was marked by a delayed onset and dry spells in early March and April. The withering of maize resulted in reduced area planted as it forced farmers to replant or, in some cases, terminate the season. However, the resumption of the rains in late March and late April in the high and medium rainfall regions of the North and South Rift, and Western and Central Kenya improved crop conditions, and is expected to drive near average production, particularly for maize. Additionally, the sharp rise in fertilizer prices following the start of the conflict in Ukraine and high fuel prices also contributed to a drop in the area planted by farmers due to the high cost of cultivation. Fertilizer prices in May were 60 to 200 percent above 2021 prices despite the government providing subsidized fertilizer prices similar to 2021. However, registered farmers are given a quota of forty 50 kg bags of fertilizer for the entire season, sufficient for about 16 to 20 acres, at the normal usage rate of 2 to 2.5 bags per acre. Reports from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that the acreage planted for the long rains maize crop is within the five-year average in the western region, and 6 to 12 percent above average in the coastal and central marginal agricultural regions. However, in the Rift Valley and Nyanza regions, farmers planted 6 to 10 percent less than the average, with farmers in the Upper and Lower Eastern regions planting 15 to 31 percent less than average.   

    In the Rift valley region, an African armyworm attack impacted an estimated 400,110 acres (around 60 percent of total acreage) but was successfully controlled. In the central region, African and Fall armyworms affected around 56 percent of the crop. Generally, the Fall and African armyworm infestations are raising concern among farmers about its impact on yields, but all of the infested counties have received pesticides from the Ministry of Agriculture.

    In the marginal agricultural areas, the main crops planted were maize, beans, green grams, and cowpeas. Generally, the area planted was below average due to the late onset and poor rainfall distribution, with farmers having to replant their crop. Most of the long rains crop in marginal agricultural areas experienced moisture stress. Infestations of African armyworms and caterpillars were reported in Makueni and Tharaka Nithi. Maize production was below average with crop failure reported in Tharaka, Kitui, Makueni, Embu (Mbeere). In Nyeri (Kieni) and Meru (Meru North), maize production was 40-49 percent below, while in Taita Taveta maize production was less than 17 percent of the average, and near average in Kilifi. Bean, cowpea, and green gram was similarly below-average across most marginal agricultural area, with production ranging from negligible to 11 percent below average. However, green gram production was average in Kilifi and was 20 percent above average in Lamu. Forage regeneration is currently below average and proxy-satellite data from the eVIIRS Normalized Differentiated Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicate that vegetation greenness remains widely below average across the marginal agricultural areas (Figure 1). However, vegetation greenness is slightly above the 2012-2021 mean in western Kenya, the Rift Valley, and in parts of the coastal strip, while it is 60 to 90 percent below across the rest of Kenya, with particularly poor conditions in Marsabit, southern Turkana, and Laikipia.

    Field data from the 2022 KFSSG Long Rains Assessment indicate that across the pastoral areas, livestock body conditions for grazers (cattle and sheep) are very poor to poor compared to normal (fair to good). In Turkana and Marsabit, livestock body conditions are currently fair compared to normal (good to very good). In Mandera, Isiolo, and Wajir, body conditions for goats are poor to fair compared to normal (good to very good), whereas across the rest of the pastoral areas body conditions are fair compared to normal (good). Camel body conditions were relatively better across the pastoral areas and were fair to good compared to normally good. Overall, below average livestock body conditions for this time of the year are driven by below average forage and water resources, and above-average trekking distances following the below-average March to May long rains. Return trekking distances for livestock from grazing areas to water sources range from 5 to 22 km across most pastoral areas and are between two to three times the three-year average, with trekking distances 25 percent above average in Turkana. Trekking distances to water distances are trending upwards as sources continue to dry up and boreholes break down from overuse.

    The limited regeneration of rangeland resources is driving the continuation of higher-than-average migration. In Turkana, livestock that migrated to Uganda are returning to their normal grazing zones within the county. However, Meru, Kitui, Nyeri (Kieni), and Taita Taveta counties are reporting an influx of livestock from Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit, Tana River, Laikipia, and Kajiado counties, putting additional pressure on already limited rangeland resources. In Garissa, livestock migrated outwards to Lamu County and across the border to Somalia, while livestock in Mandera migrated outwards to Ethiopia and Somalia. Livestock migrated into Isiolo from Marsabit, Samburu, Garissa, and Wajir, while livestock also moved out to Laikipia, Samburu, Baringo, Nakuru, and Meru counties. In Wajir, migration into the traditional grazing areas in Isiolo and Marsabit counties continued despite constraints brought about by conflicts among the border communities, which has limited access to rangeland resources for households in Wajir West and Eldas sub-counties. There are also reports of resource-based conflicts in Garissa along the Garissa-Isiolo border and in Isiolo along the Isiolo – Tigania East border. Human-wildlife conflicts are also reported in Taita Taveta and Makueni where elephants invaded the farms of households living near wildlife protected areas, while in Kilifi, elephants and hippos invaded farms located along River Tana in search of forage and water for consumption.

    Milk production in the pastoral areas in July was negligible in Marsabit and Turkana but ranged from 50 to 88 percent below average across the rest of the pastoral areas, with production ranging between 0.25 to 1.1 liters per household per day, with households prioritizing milk for kids and lambs. Despite some improvement in livestock body conditions following the long rains, milk production remains low, with household milk availability also limited due to the high proportion of livestock that have migrated to dry season grazing areas and further afield. Correspondingly, livestock conception and birth rates remain low due to the consecutive poor seasons preceding the current season and the inability of livestock to sustain pregnancies to term given poor body conditions. In July, incidences of livestock diseases were mostly endemic diseases, like Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), and Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), in addition to Trypanosomiasis and camel, sheep and goat pox. Livestock herd sizes have reduced since the KFSSG 2021 Short Rains Assessment as a result of sale, slaughter and deaths from disease, starvation, and predation. According to the KFSSG 2022 Long Rains Assessment, households own two to five Tropical Livestock Units (TLUs)0F[1] compared to the average five to eight, reflecting a 38 to 67 percent decrease compared to the long-term average. By the end of May 2022, the NDMA reported that around 2.43 million livestock have likely died since the start of the drought, with around 17 percent of livestock in Samburu dying, followed by Mandera (11.3%), Isiolo (8%), Lamu (7.6 %), Marsabit (7.4%), and Garissa (6.8 %).

    Domestic water access: Across the pastoral areas, households are accessing water from water pans and boreholes, rivers, shallow wells, traditional river wells, and sand dams. In Wajir and Garissa, water trucking is being carried out for areas that have no permanent source of water. In Isiolo, water volumes are low in rivers due to poor recharge following the long rains, while yields in traditional river wells, sand dams, and shallow wells have deteriorated further. Acute water shortages are currently being reported in Isiolo county, particularly in parts of Isiolo South (Modogashe), Cherab (Malkagalla, Bisan Biliqo, Dadacha Bassa, Oldonyiro, Lakole), and Isiolo North sub-counties. In Marsabit, parts of Kargi/South, Maikona, North Horr and Korr/Ngurnit wards are currently experiencing acute water shortages because of very low water recharge levels and non-functioning boreholes (due to break downs and lack of spare parts and funds for repairs and maintenance). Overall, households are trekking further, waiting longer, and using less water.

    According to the USGS Water Point Viewer, water availability is mostly on a downward trend across most monitored water points across the pastoral areas of Kenya (Figure 3). Return trekking distances for water for domestic use are 25-50 percent above the three-year average across most of the pastoral areas. Trekking distances in Mandera are 140 percent above average due to poor recharge of both surface and underground water sources and breakdown of boreholes as a result of over-use. In Isiolo, households are trekking around 3.5 kilometers as households have access to several boreholes and piped water. Across the rest of the pastoral areas, household trekking distances range from 7 to 15 kilometers. In the marginal areas such as Makueni and Nyeri, trekking distances were triple the three-year average as most surface water sources have dried up, while across the rest of the marginal areas households are trekking 9 to 67 percent above average. Above average trekking distances are continuing to strain households’ ability and time to engage in other important livelihood activities.

    Markets and trade: Staple food prices, particularly maize, have increased significantly because of the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on global food prices and trade, the below average 2021/2022 harvest, and the anticipation of below average harvests from the 2022/2023 short rains given the poor rainfall forecast, high fuel and fertilizer prices, and crop pest infestations. At the same time, there is increased demand on goods following the lifting of some COVID-19 containment measures, along with high global inflation on key commodities (oil and gas) and services (shipping) in the wake of the post pandemic economic recovery. Despite a duty waiver between May and August 2022 issued by the government, high global maize prices are discouraging traders from importing maize from overseas. Lastly, a recent enforcement of export documents by the Tanzanian government is resulting in a temporary backlog of trucks at the Kenya-Tanzania border, which is disrupting market supply in Kenya.

    In June, wholesale maize prices in the urban reference markets are 47-63 percent above the five-year average due to the ongoing national shortage following successive seasons of below average production. Maize prices range from 5,200 – 5,990 KES per 90-kg bag (double the average in Eldoret) and are continuing to rise given the atypically high and sustained demand, with the exception of Mombasa due to incoming cross-border supplies from Tanzania and imports from southern Africa. In the marginal agricultural areas, retail maize prices in January ranged from 60 to 80 KES per kg and are 41 – 58 percent above the five-year average. However in Makueni and Tharaka, prices were twice the average due to depleted household stocks and high demand in the markets. Retail maize prices in the pastoral areas range from 66 to 96 KES per kg and are 22 to 42 percent above the five-year average due to high local demand for human and livestock consumption and relatively higher-priced commodities from source markets. 

    Wholesale bean prices in urban markets range from 9,100 to 11,600 KES per 90-kg bag. Prices are average in Eldoret, due to available local harvests, but are 23 to 44 percent above the five-year average across the rest of the urban markets. Across the marginal agricultural areas, retail bean prices range from 108 to 136 KES and are rising, ranging between 12 to 39 percent above the five-year average as demand increases and household stocks are depleted.

    In June, improvements in vegetation greenness and therefore livestock body conditions after the long rains allowed the price of a two-year old medium-sized mature goat to be within five percent of the five-year average in Marsabit and Isiolo. In northern and eastern pastoral livelihood zones, goat prices were 7 to 28 percent below the five-year average, driven primarily by below-average and declining livestock body conditions, and oversupply to the markets. Combined with high maize prices, the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade remain 28 to 42 percent lower than the five-year average. (Figure 4).

    COVID-19: To avert straining local public health systems, the Ministry of Health reinstated indoor mask wearing on June 20, after the weekly COVID-19 positivity rate increased from 0.6 percent in early May to 10.4 percent in June. Approximately 18,736,200 vaccines have been administered across Kenya, with around 32 percent of adults fully vaccinated. However, according to the Ministry of Health, Kenya plans to fully vaccinate 19 million adults (70 percent of the adult population) by end of June 2022 and the entire adult population (27 million people) by the end of the year. As of July 26, Kenya has a seven-day rolling average of 77 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day.

    Interannual and emergency food assistance: Approximately 100,000 households across Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, and Turkana counties continue to receive bi-monthly cash transfers of 5,400 KES, sufficient to meet up to 12 days of monthly kilocalorie needs through NDMA's Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP). Additionally, the HSNP Emergency Scale Up, triggered by a severe vegetation index, is being disbursed to an additional 95,000 households in need in the same counties. However, the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal is only 16 percent funded. Due to funding shortfalls, WFP continues to provide around 440,000 refugees with food rations equivalent to 52 percent of a daily 2100 kilocalorie diet to refugees, equivalent to sufficiently meet up to 16 days of monthly kilocalorie needs.

    Current food security outcomes

    Urban areas outcomes: Post COVID-19 recovery has been constrained by the current high cost of living from the impacts of COVID-19, high fuel prices, and the ongoing persistent drought. The key economic sectors such as hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, and transportation that experienced a significant scale down due to COVID-19 have taken longer than anticipated to recover, with the high cost of fuel and high production costs keeping opportunities low for casual skilled and unskilled labor. Limited labor opportunities have significantly reduced household income, and also reduced household food access and consumption. Urban food insecurity assessment surveys from December 2021 in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu indicated that at least 20 percent of poor households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, driven by reduced or lost income earning opportunities. The consistently increasing staple food prices and living costs, including non-food items are likely forcing households to employ both consumption- and livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse.   

    Marginal agricultural area outcomes: The poor March to May long rains have resulted in significantly below average crop production, as well as reduced income from agricultural labor and crop sales, causing below average food availability and income. According to NDMA sentinel site data, household food consumption deteriorating with 24 - 82 percent of households recording borderline food consumption scores (FCS) indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while up to 37 percent of households reported a poor FCS indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Households are increasingly engaging in consumption-based coping strategies like reducing meal frequency and food portions, eating less preferred or less expensive foods, and sending household members to eat elsewhere. Thirty-three percent of households are applying consumption coping strategies that are indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Similarly, up to 44 percent of households are applying livelihood coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as withdrawing children from school, reducing expenditures on health, harvesting immature crops, and consuming seed stocks. Up to 11 percent of households in Kitui, Kwale, Lamu, Makueni, and Meru counties are using coping strategies indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4), including the sale of houses and land, sale of last female animals, and begging. Household food stocks are depleted while households are mostly dependent on markets for staple food commodities; however, high staple food prices continue to limit household food availability, access, and consumption. In June and July, Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru North are likely facing area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, while relatively better-off marginal agricultural areas are likely facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) area-level outcomes.

    Pastoral area outcomes: The below average long rains and partial recovery of rangeland resources continue to drive below average livestock productivity and sale values, reducing household food and milk availability and access. Livestock migration remains high across the pastoral areas, keeping milk availability and consumption significantly below average, leading to increasing acute malnutrition rates. Milk consumption remains below average, mirroring the below average milk production, with consumption 67 to 90 percent below average, ranging from 0.25 – 1 liter per household per day compared to the typical 1 – 2.5 liters per household per day. NDMA sentinel site data for June indicates that across the pastoral areas, at least 15 to 52 percent of households recorded a borderline food consumption score indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while up to 49 percent of households had a poor FCS indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4), except in the southern pastoral areas of Kajiado and Narok. The borderline and poor FCS is driven by the significantly low availability of and consumption of milk. Households across pastoral areas are applying consumption-based coping strategies such as reducing meal frequency and food portions, eating less preferred or less expensive foods, and sending household members to eat elsewhere. Around 6 to 44 percent of households are applying consumption-coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, with 2 to 23 percent of households across the pastoral areas applying livelihood coping strategies indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4), like selling of last female animals and begging. Up 58 percent of pastoral households are applying strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as reducing expenses on health and withdrawing children from school.

    An IPC acute malnutrition update (IPC AMN) in May reported that there is Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9 percent) acute malnutrition prevalence in Garissa, Baringo, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, and Isiolo counties. While in Tana River County, the acute malnutrition situation deteriorated from Serious (GAM WHZ 10-14.9 percent) to Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9). The deterioration was linked to increasing acute food insecurity because of low household purchasing power and declining household food consumption, particularly milk, following the increased livestock migration. According to the IPC AMN update, across the Arid and Semi-Arid counties and the urban areas of Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nairobi, around 942,500 children aged 6-59 months were affected by acute malnutrition and in need of treatment. In Mandera, around 126,140 children were in need of treatment, a 30 percent increase since February 2022.

    Provisional SMART survey data collected in June 2022 indicates that there is widespread Critical (WHZ GAM 15-29.9 percent) acute malnutrition prevalence across the northern and eastern pastoral areas, and Extremely Critical (GAM WHZ ≥ 30 percent) levels in Turkana, at the start of the typical dry season. However, ongoing cash transfers and humanitarian assistance are mitigating widespread deterioration in June, resulting in Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes in Mandera, Marsabit, and Isiolo. However, in Turkana, poor purchasing power, low livestock productivity, low household income, and high malnutrition rates are driving area-level Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes despite ongoing cash transfers.


    [1] Tropical Livestock Units are livestock numbers converted to a common unit. Camels = 1.1; cattle=0.5; sheep and goats=0.1; pigs=0.2; chickens=0.01.


    The June 2022 to January 2023 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    •Based on the enhanced sea surface temperature gradients (the Western Pacific Gradient), the likelihood of a strong La Niña, and potential for negative IOD conditions in late 2022, there is high likelihood that the October to December (OND) 2022 short rains season in northern and eastern Kenya will be below average. The NMME and WMO weather forecast models both predict strong probabilities (50-80 percent) of below-average rainfall in the OND 2022 season in the eastern Horn. In western unimodal Kenya, the February to August 2022 long rains season is likely to be average.

    •The March to May long rains harvests in the marginal agricultural areas are likely to be at least 30 – 50 percent below average or more, driven by the below-average rainfall. The harvest will likely be available from mid-to-late July, later than the usual mid-to-late June due to delayed cropping activities driven by the late onset of rainfall. In the western unimodal areas, the long rains crop harvest in October is expected to be slightly below average due to damage from Fall and African Armyworm infestations and high fertilizer prices, which will likely limit the area planted by farmers.

    •From June through late October, forage and water resources are expected to deteriorate atypically rapidly and remain significantly below average. Low water levels will keep return trekking distances for domestic and livestock use above average levels and above 4 and 10 kilometers respectively. From October through December the forecast below average rains will drive only slight improvements and the forage and water conditions will remain below average through January.

    •Atypical migration is expected to remain high throughout the scenario period driven by low forage and water resources, reducing household milk availability and income. Along the migration routes and in the dry-season grazing areas, livestock diseases and resource-based and intertribal conflicts are expected to increase significantly as the livestock and livestock herders interact closely resulting in livestock deaths, disruption of livelihoods, loss of property, and human fatalities.

    •In the marginal agricultural areas below average crop production and limited crop sales are expected to result in at least a 50 percent reduction in crop related income, such as crop sales and casual wage labor opportunities, through the scenario period.

    •Following the granting of a waiver of import duty on 540,000 metric tonnes of white non-GMO maize for human consumption until August 6, 2022, it is likely that Kenyan traders will import maize from Uganda, Tanzania, and southern Africa, improving market supply and reducing maize prices to average and near average levels, which will improve household access.

    •According to FEWS NET price projections, maize prices in the Nairobi urban market are likely to remain high driven by a number of factors: current high food insecurity coupled with high countrywide demand, consecutive below average production seasons, and increased costs of fuel and transportation from supply disruptions since the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Prices are expected to remain above average throughout the scenario period. Wholesale maize prices are expected to range from 4,700 to 5,400 KES per 90-kg bag and will be 47 to 66 percent above the five-year average.

    •Wholesale bean prices in the Nairobi reference market are expected to follow the seasonal trend through the scenario period and range from 6,900 to 8,900 KES per 90-kg bag. Bean prices will likely be around 7 percent below average in June from expected average harvests given the high and medium rainfall areas. Thereafter, bean prices will likely increase to 7-8 percent above average in July and August and drop to average levels through the rest of the scenario period driven by average-to-above average supplies from Uganda.

    •Reduced food intake and low milk consumption will remain the main contributory factors to acute malnutrition in the pastoral and marginal agricultural livelihoods. Acute malnutrition rates are likely to increase through the scenario period but the scaling-up of humanitarian assistance will likely mitigate severe deterioration of nutrition outcomes. The prevalence of acute malnutrition is likely to be Critical (GAM 15-29.9 percent) through January 2023 in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Tana River counties, North Horr & Laisamis sub-counties in Marsabit, and Tiaty sub-county in Baringo County. In the other counties, elevated Alert (GAM 5-9.9 percent) and Serious (GAM 10-14.9 percent) acute malnutrition is likely to persist. Additionally, high morbidity and chronically poor infant and young child feeding practices and health seeking behavior will likely contribute to poor nutrition outcomes, accompanied by structural issues like low literacy levels, poor infrastructure, and poverty.

    •Political activity related to the August 2022 General Elections will likely disrupt or restrict normal income-earning opportunities, especially in urban areas, in August and September. Political rallies, demonstrations, unrest, and voting on election day are likely to disrupt livelihood activities including petty trade and businesses, reducing household income and food access. According to a report by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Nairobi, Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, and Mombasa counties are classified as high-risk on the Kenya Electoral Violence Index based on pre-existing conflict factors, potential triggers of election violence, and weak institutional capacity.

    •Ongoing humanitarian assistance, including safety nets such as cash transfers to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT), and Persons With Severe Disability - Cash Transfer (PWSD – CT) are expected to continue throughout the scenario period, providing approximately one million targeted households with 2,000 KES each month. In the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is likely to disburse a monthly amount of 2,700 KES to at least 195,000 households under the World Food Programme (WFP) under the Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFSP). Other initiatives will continue to provide assistance in the form of food commodities and cash-based transfers equivalent to at least 30 -50 percent of a full monthly ration to approximately 175,000 households. Additionally, WFP is planning to provide cash and food commodities to at least 535,000 beneficiaries who are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes from late -July or early-August lasting six months. WFP will target the most food insecure households in Turkana, Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu, Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit (Priority 1), and Tana River, Baringo, Kitui, Kwale, and Kilifi (Priority 2). Beneficiaries in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will receive an equivalent of 50 percent of a full monthly ration and households in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) will receive an equivalent of 75 percent of a full monthly ration.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In the urban areas, economic recovery will likely be slowed by the ongoing drought, high fuel prices, and general high cost of living. As a result, income-earning opportunities remain below pre-COVID-19 levels and household income remains low due to a scarcity of income-earning opportunities. High staple food, petroleum, and electricity prices are likely to keep food and non-food commodity costs at above average prices, reducing household access. The relatively higher-priced cross border staple food imports and below average long rains harvests in July will see staple food prices remaining high throughout the scenario period. Activities related to the August general elections, such as meetings and rallies, are likely to disrupt economic activities, reducing household income especially for daily wage laborers. Urban poor households will be forced to resort to consumption- and livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4), such as asset stripping, dependence on credit facilities, and engaging in illicit trades to earn income and fill food consumption gaps.

    In marginal agricultural areas, the below average March to May long rains harvests are expected to be significantly below average in most areas. Households’ reliance on market purchases are expected to remain unseasonably high between June and September. However, the anticipated above average staple food prices, and limited income from agricultural labor opportunities and crop sales will limit household food access. Although households are likely to seek alternative income sources, such as charcoal and firewood sales and non-agricultural income-earning opportunities, the limited expandability of these income sources will continue to maintain large income deficits. The below average October to December short rains are expected to result in below average crop acreage due to constrained access to seeds, high agricultural input prices, and below average agricultural waged labor opportunities. As a result, households are expected to continue employing consumption-based coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as reducing meal frequency and food portions, eating less preferred foods, and relying on help from friends and relatives. Additionally, households will employ livelihood-coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) such as borrowing money, purchasing food on credit and reduction of expenses on health and veterinary services. At the same time, the extended periods of constrained food availability and access is likely to result in an increase in the prevalence of malnutrition among children under five. Consequently, at least 20 percent of poor households will be able to meet their food needs but be unable to meet their non-food needs and be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, it is likely that one in five households in Makueni, Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), Meru (Meru North), Laikipia, and Kitui will be unable to meet their food needs without employing crisis-coping strategies and will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    In pastoral areas, the decline in the already below average forage and water resources in June is expected to intensify livestock migration, with remaining livestock herds moving to dry season grazing areas. The increased migration and below average rangeland resources will likely result in resource-based conflict as livestock herders encroach private ranches and farms. An increase in livestock disease incidences is likely due to the high numbers of livestock congregating in the dry season grazing areas. Reduced livestock productivity and sale values will reduce income from the sale of livestock and livestock products. Additionally, household milk availability and consumption will remain low as the herds stay away from the homesteads. Households are likely to depend increasingly on non-livestock income sources like non-agricultural wage labor, safety nets, remittances, and charcoal and firewood sales. However these income sources are likely to be constrained by limited opportunities, increased competition, and a slow-to-recover economy driven by drought and high global fuel prices. To cope with reduced food and income, households will intensify the application of coping strategies during the lean season, including consumption-based coping strategies such as reducing the number of meals and portion sizes, and sending children to eat elsewhere. Livelihood-based coping strategies will include withdrawing children from school, reducing expenditures on healthcare, the sale of last female animals, and dropping out of pastoralism to destitution (begging), all indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Due to the impact of consecutive poor rainfall seasons, conflict and insecurity, low livestock productivity, low terms-of-trade, and high livestock death rates that have eroded household assets, area-level Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected across northern and eastern pastoral counties through January 2023. However, a scaling-up of humanitarian assistance could mitigate worsening food insecurity outcomes from emerging. 


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

    AreaEventImpact on food security conditions 


    Significantly below average long rains crop harvest from the high and medium rainfall areas A significant national staple food deficit, likely raising staple food prices and reducing household food access. A significant number of urban, marginal agricultural, and pastoral households will likely deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse. 
    NationalInsufficient humanitarian assistanceIf the humanitarian flash appeal is unable to raise sufficient funds to carry out the necessary interventions, it is likely that there will be a severe deterioration in food insecurity outcomes, particularly across pastoral areas, with deterioration to Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) likely to occur due to insufficient access to food and income. 

    Northeastern Pastoral Livelihood Zone 

    Average October – December short rainsSignificant improvements in water and forage resources and improved livestock health and production, increasing sale values, household income, and food availability. This would likely improve acute food insecurity and support area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
    Northeastern Pastoral Livelihood Zone Improvement of the security situation in the highly insecure areasImproved household access to livelihood activities, humanitarian assistance, and markets. With increased access to food and income, household acute food insecurity is likely to reduce, resulting in area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. 
    Northern and Northwestern Pastoral Livelihood ZonesFailed 2022 October to December short rainsConstrain availability of rangeland resources, accelerating the deterioration of livestock body conditions, and increasing livestock mortality rates. Significantly low sale values will significantly erode household purchasing power and access to food. Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) would be likely in the absence of a large scaling-up of humanitarian assistance.
    Northern and Northwestern Pastoral Livelihood ZonesInsufficient scaling-up of humanitarian assistanceIf the Emergency HSNP Scale up and other humanitarian assistance are discontinued due to lack of funding, poor household incomes and food access will be significantly limited. Households would likely be unable to access sufficient food or income and may face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). 

    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


    Figure 2

    Figure 1.

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    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.

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