Skip to main content

High staple prices keep household purchasing power lower than normal

  • Key Message Update
  • Kenya
  • July 2023
High staple prices keep household purchasing power lower than normal

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In July, forage and water resources are seasonally declining in pastoral areas, with livestock traveling around 5 to 10 kilometers from grazing areas to water sources following the regeneration during the March to May long rains. The trekking distances for livestock are similar to much shorter than the three-year average. Pastoral household milk consumption is also slowly increasing in monitored NDMA sentinel sites but remains well below normal following poor calving and kidding rates during the long rains and households selling the milk for income. High maize prices are also continuing to keep household purchasing power low, with the sale of a goat likely to purchase around 20 to 55 kilograms of maize, around 5 to 50 percent lower than the five-year average. With limited access to income from milk and below average herd sizes, area-level Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are most likely through the pastoral June to September lean season before expected substantial improvements during the forecast above-average October to December short rains.

    • In the marginal agricultural areas, the long rains harvest has been poor following the poor temporal distribution of the March to May long rains and increased consumption of green harvests. Field reports indicate the maize harvest is expected to be significantly below average in most areas. However, in Kwale, the harvest is likely to be significantly above average due to an increase in the area planted and the good performance of the seasonal rains. In much of the marginal agricultural areas, the below-average harvest of pulses such as green grams, beans, and cowpeas has provided a short-lived improvement in household food availability; however, household stocks are being sold rapidly to support non-food needs. Poor households are also maintaining an atypically high dependence on off-own farm income from the sale of charcoal and firewood and petty trade during the harvest period. Consequently, area level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) are ongoing in the marginal agricultural areas, with the worst affected areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Between February and June 2023, Kenya imported 259,470 tonnes of duty-free maize from regional and international markets, well below the 900,000 tonnes targeted by the government by August 2023. The shortfall is likely due to a generally tight global market, high fuel prices, the depreciation of the Kenyan Shilling (KES), and high landing costs resulting in the imported maize being more expensive than local maize. In June, maize prices in monitored pastoral and marginal agricultural markets were 19 to 111 percent higher than the five-year average, constraining household purchasing power for an important staple food. Similarly, bean prices were 28 to 80 percent above the five-year average in monitored markets. The high cost of staple foods continues to limit household food access ahead of the upcoming long rains harvest in the high-production areas of western and Rift-valley Kenya.

    • Ongoing humanitarian assistance continues to prevent worse food insecurity outcomes across the pastoral and marginal agricultural livelihood zones, particularly in Marsabit and Turkana counties. WFP, through the Lisha Jamii Program, is continuing to distribute the equivalent of 75 percent of household kilocalorie needs to around 158,880 households through in-kind food and cash transfers across northern and eastern Kenya. In June, the government expanded the Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP) to include Tana River, Samburu, Garissa, and Isiolo counties in addition to the original beneficiary counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera. Around 125,750 and 23,000 households across the eight counties will receive 5,400 KES (~38 USD) every two months through the regular and emergency scale-up programs, respectively.  

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Kenya Key Message Update July 2023: High staple prices keep household purchasing power lower than normal, 2023.

    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.

    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