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Rising maize prices reduce household purchasing power, particularly in pastoral areas

  • Key Message Update
  • Kenya
  • July 2022
Rising maize prices reduce household purchasing power, particularly in pastoral areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In July, the 2022 Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) Long Rains Assessment/IPC determined that around 3.7 million people in the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes, a 20 percent increase since the Short Rains Assessment/IPC in February 2022. However, the current food insecure population in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas is lower than the May Short Rains IPC projection update following short-term improvements to rangeland resources following heavy rainfall in late April and significant humanitarian assistance efforts in the food security and nutrition sectors, particularly in the pastoral counties. In July, Turkana County is in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), with other pastoral areas facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. In the marginal agricultural areas, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in Kitui, Makueni, Meru (Meru North), Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka), and Tana River.     

    • According to the July 2022 IPC acute malnutrition analysis (AMN), acute malnutrition is worsening across pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, with a high prevalence of Critical (WHZ GAM 15-29.9 percent) acute malnutrition in Turkana (Turkana West, Turkana Central), Samburu, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Baringo (Tiaty), Marsabit (North Horr), and the prevalence of Extremely Critical (GAM WHZ ≥ 30 percent) acute malnutrition in Marsabit (Laisamis), and Turkana (Turkana South and Turkana North). The IPC AMN also determined that over 884,460 children between the age of 6 – 59 months are moderately or severely malnourished, along with 115,725 acutely malnourished pregnant and lactating women in need of treatment. 

    • Staple food prices remain significantly above average driven by below-average long rains production in the marginal agricultural areas, high national demand, reduced cross-border imports, high transport costs due to high fuel prices, and high inflation rates. In July, maize prices are around 30-125 percent above the five-year average and continue to reduce household purchasing power. In particular, maize prices in Isiolo, Kitui, Samburu, Baringo, Laikipia, Meru, and Embu (Mbeere) are over 70 percent of the five-year average. Nationally, retail bean prices in monitored markets range around 10-70 percent above the five-year average except in Eldoret, where prices are nearly 10 percent below average due to the availability of the long rains harvests in the medium potential areas of western Kenya. Overall, the high staple food prices continue to limit household purchasing power and access to food.

    • The harvesting of the 2022 March to May long rains crops is ongoing in the marginal agricultural areas. In the southeastern marginal agricultural areas, the maize harvest is likely to be nearly 80 percent below the five-year average according to the KFSSG long rains food security assessment, while green grams and cowpeas production is expected to be around 85 percent and 95 percent below average. Household food stocks will likely last only one to two months compared to three to four months normally. Household reliance on market purchases will remain atypically high. In the coastal marginal agricultural areas, the maize and green grams harvests are likely to be within the five-year average, with the cowpea harvest around 33 percent below average.

    • In the pastoral livelihood zones, declining forage and water resources continues to drive below-average livestock body condition for all species. Cattle body conditions are poor across the northern and northeastern pastoral livelihood zones, but in Turkana, cattle body conditions are fair following improvements in pasture and water. Goat body conditions across the pastoral livelihood zones are also fair but poor in Mandera and Marsabit. Atypical migration remains widespread, with most livestock, especially cattle, remaining away from the homesteads. As a result, household milk consumption remains significantly below average, ranging from 0 to 1.1 liters per household per day, around 25 to 80 percent below the three-year average across the pastoral areas, with negligible milk production in Samburu and Turkana. Below-average income from milk and livestock sales continues to keep household income well below average, limiting household food access and driving widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes across the pastoral livelihood zones.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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