Group predicts below average forage and food production in Kenya



NAIROBI, KENYA: Due to persistent rainfall deficits, pastoral areas continue to experience high levels of atypical livestock migration in response to below-average forage and water availability says a statement says a group which monitors food security in several countries.

“Incidence of livestock disease and resource-based conflict are consequently on the rise, while livestock body conditions and milk production remain below average. In marginal agricultural areas, replanted crops in the southeast are moisture stressed and withering, diminishing prospects for partial recovery of short-cycle and main crop production. Crop production will be significantly below average for the second consecutive season. Below-average food and income sources are expected to drive crisis and stressed  outcomes in most areas through September,” .” says an update of the food situation in Kenya and a forecast of the June to September released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) on June 1.

FEWS NET which is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity in 28 countries was created by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises.

The statement further says that the 2019 March to May long rains have continued to perform significantly below average and according to satellite-derived data, cumulative rainfall through May 25th is at least 20 percent below average across most of the country.

“Pastoral and coastal areas in eastern Kenya, as well as parts of western Kenya’s high and medium potential agricultural zones, have accumulated larger deficits that range from 50 to 75 percent below average. Deficits are least severe in north western pastoral Kenya, where rainfall is 20 percent below average to normal,” says the statement.

The statement adds that although planting was delayed and substantial rainfall deficits persist in unimodal crop production areas, a forecast of increased rainfall through August is currently anticipated to support near-normal crop development. High incidence of Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been reported across western Kenya’s agropastoral, high potential, and marginal agricultural livelihood zones, due to below-average rainfall and farmers’ limited capacity to access pesticides. This has mostly affected maize and sorghum in early development stages in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot, Laikipia, Narok, Busia, and Kisumu counties. However, increased rainfall in May is reducing pest levels, allowing crops that are currently in vegetative stages to recover.

While reviewing the food prices for the past period, the statement says that from March to April, maize prices increased by 6 to 52 percent in most key reference markets, driven by the anticipation of below-average long rains production and by current high household demand and reduced supply.

“However, prices widely remain comparable to the April five-year average, with few exceptions. In Kisumu, Kilifi, and Turkana, prices were 13, 23, and 26 percent below average due to better availability of cross-border imports in local markets. In Turkana, relief food distribution has also mitigated price increases. In Tharaka Nithi, Nyeri, Isiolo, Wajir, and Mandera, prices ranged from 10 to 18 percent above average, attributed to higher rises in local demand and source market prices,” the statement concludes.

(Source: Famine Early Warning Systems Network -FEWS NET)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here