Kenya Key Message Update: Below-average harvests and animal husbandry increase food insecurity in households – Kenya
After the cumulative long rainfalls from March to May, crop and livestock production in eastern and northern Kenya is below average. Harvests in marginal agricultural areas are well underway and are expected to be below average. In marginal agricultural and pastoral areas, cattle continue to migrate for feed and water resources, reducing household access to milk and income as livestock conditions deteriorate. Expected below-average harvests and falling livestock sales values are likely to lead to lower household incomes, lower household purchasing power and market access to food, and the results of stress (IPC phase 2) and crisis (IPC phase 3) in marginal agricultural and pastoral areas.
Across the agricultural fringes, below-average yields are expected due to the below-average cultivation area and the poorly distributed rainfall between March and May. The harvest for beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas and green grams continues. The corn crop varies from the knee-high to the harvest stage and is in poor condition due to moisture stress, with the Taita Taveta corn crop likely to be in very poor condition. There have been reports of autumn armyworms (FAW) in the maize crop in Embu, which is likely to have a negative impact on yields. In Kilifi, the late-planted corn crop is in good shape, aided by almost average rainfall in June and July, with mango, vegetables and mangoes currently being harvested. Overall, the poor crop yields in the marginal agricultural areas reduce agricultural job opportunities for households during the harvest. However, the harvest maintains household food availability in the short term, which supports the results of area-level stress (IPC phase 2), but the most vulnerable households are expected to be in crisis (IPC phase 3).
In the pasture areas, the vegetation decreases seasonally, and the distances from water sources to pastures for livestock are atypically high. In most pastoral areas, trekking distances are between 10.5 and 23.8 km, 23-65 percent above the three-year average. However, trekking distances are average in Mandera and 9-12 percent below average in Wajir and Marsabit, but the frequency of cattle watering is expected to decrease. The decline in pasture land resources continues to drive livestock migration within and between counties and across borders. Resource-based conflicts have led to heightened tension, human deaths and reduced livelihoods in the affected areas. Cattle prices in most pastoral markets are between an average of and 8 percent above the five-year average due to the fair conditions of the livestock. However, in Turkana and Wajir, livestock prices are 7-20 percent below average as livestock conditions deteriorate. As pasture land resources continue to deteriorate, the outcomes of the crisis (IPC Phase 3) are likely to continue as livestock conditions deteriorate, affecting households’ access to milk and income.
In June, corn prices in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa were 18-23 percent above the five-year average, driven by high demand for household consumption and forage. In the rest of the country, however, prices were between average and 17 percent below average, aided by local inventory levels and cross-border imports. Corn prices in Nairobi and Mombasa were 28-38 percent below average, supported by cross-border sources. Bean prices are falling, between an average of and 27 percent below average, as harvests take place across Kenya. In marginal agricultural areas, however, bean prices were 9-14 percent above the five-year average due to high demand and the expected below-average and slightly delayed long rainy harvest.
As of July 29, Kenya has recorded 201,009 cumulative COVID-19 cases since mid-March 2020, with a seven-day moving average of around 843 new cases per day. Kenya has given 1.71 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, with approximately 2 percent of the population receiving at least one vaccine dose. On July 1, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) warned that there will likely be a fourth wave of infections in Kenya between July and August due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant. On June 29, in response to the increase in daily cases, the government resumed nationwide and “hotspot” restrictions. The continuation of COVID-19-related restrictions is likely to continue to impact income opportunities for urban poor and fuel continued engagement in coping strategies that indicate the outcomes of stress (IPC phase 2) and crisis (IPC phase 3).