Kenya Food Security Outlook Update, October 2021 to May 2022 – Kenya

Below-average short rains lead to food insecurity in pastoral regions


  • Based on the precipitation estimates through October, the delayed onset of brief rains from October through December will likely occur in October 2021 and be among the driest in eastern Kenya. Due to the bad start of the season, the short duration of the season and the mean rainfall in analogous years, the cumulative rainfall in northern and eastern Kenya is likely to be less than 60 percent of the average and in central Kenya 60-75 percent of the average. Based on global forecasts using historical analogues of La Nina and those with a transition from La Nina to ENSO-neutral, there is an increased likelihood that the long rains from March to May 2022 in northern and eastern Kenya will be below average. However, due to the long-term nature of the forecast, there is uncertainty.

  • In pasture areas, dwindling forage and water resources continue to intensify atypical cattle migration as shepherds look for better pasture land resources. Increased trekking distances to water and poor grazing conditions lead to a decline in carcass conditions and increased reports of resource-related conflicts. Pastoral households report below average milk production and consumption, which affects households’ access to income and food. In addition, the high prices for staple foods limit the purchasing power of households. Overall, the widespread outcomes of the crisis (IPC Phase 3) at the area level are expected to continue until May 2022.

  • As household food supplies dwindle in marginal agricultural areas, the late onset of brief rains has delayed land preparation and planting, and reduced household access to farm income. The expected poor harvest is likely to increase households’ reliance on market buying to fill food gaps over the scenario period. Poor households are likely to increase their reliance on casual work, retail trade and the sale of firewood / charcoal for income, but increased competition and high prices for staple foods are likely to limit household purchasing power. Overall, most households are expected to be able to meet their food but not non-food needs and are stressed (IPC phase 2), with the most vulnerable households likely to be in crisis (IPC -Phase 3).

  • As of October 26, around 5.08 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered. About 3.1 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated while 7.5 percent of the adult population is partially vaccinated. Across Kenya, the government’s lifting of the 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. curfew on October 20 is expected to boost economic activity, particularly for bars, restaurants, nightclubs and public vehicles. This should increase economic activity and improve incomes and access to food, especially for the urban poor. More urban poor households are expected to improve on stress (IPC phase 2) during the scenario period.

  • Basic food prices remain mixed across the country. Corn prices in Eldoret, Nairobi and pasture markets remain above the five-year average due to lower local deliveries after the below-average long rainy harvest in 2021 and reduced cross-border imports 6-37. Corn prices are 7 percent below average in Mombasa and within the five-year average in Kisumu, Turkana and the agricultural fringes, which are stabilized by the availability of local crops and cross-border supplies from Uganda and Tanzania. Bean prices in September were 10-43 percent above the five-year average, helped by sustained demand due to continued shortages despite increased supply from local crops and cross-border imports.

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