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Below-average short rains production expected in marginal agricultural areas

  • Key Message Update
  • Kenya
  • November 2018
Below-average short rains production expected in marginal agricultural areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • At the peak of the October to December short rains season, most pastoral livelihood zones remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and most agricultural livelihood zones remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, seasonal rainfall performance has been below average, accumulating rainfall deficits up to 200 mm in central Kenya, up to 100 mm in eastern Kenya, and up to 25 mm in other areas, according to satellite-derived rainfall estimates. In contrast, there are positive anomalies of 10 to 100 mm in the southwest and along the coast and 10 to 25 mm in parts of northern Kenya.

    • In marginal agricultural areas, a below-average short rains harvest is expected due to delayed onset of the rains by 10 to 30 days and poor temporal distribution. Land preparation and planting are still ongoing in most areas. In Kilifi, crops are in the germination stages, but in Meru North sub-county, crops have withered under abnormally dry conditions. Poor households also have fewer agricultural casual labor opportunities. Household stocks from long rains production and below-average staple food prices will continue to drive Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, though Lamu, Makueni, and Embu are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the harvest.

    • In pastoral areas, average to above-average forage and livestock body conditions persist in some areas due to the lingering effects of the above-average long rains season, according to field reports. In other areas, poor rainfall performance has led to below-normal vegetation conditions and further deterioration is anticipated. Livestock prices in October were 13 to 30 percent above the five-year average across reference markets and reached as high as 73 percent above average in Marsabit, primarily driven by good body conditions. As a result, household income and purchasing power are above average. However, below-average rainfall is likely to impact livestock production and migration by January. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to be maintained. 

    • Staple food prices in urban reference markets across the country remained favorable in October due to available 2017 stocks and long rains harvests, stabilizing access to food for households reliant on market purchases.  Maize prices were 20 to 35 percent below the five-year average. Dry bean prices remained near average except in Mombasa, where prices were 14 percent below average due to available substitutes and cross-border imports. Overall, current staple food prices range from 15 to 50 percent below 2017 prices as a result of increased supplies from improved production and cross-border imports. 

    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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