Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) results after third consecutive underperforming season
The impact of a third consecutive below-average rainy season is leading to worsening food security caused by the impact of poor crop and livestock production, resource-based conflict, livestock disease and mortality, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2022, the KFSSG’s annual Short Rains Assessment reported that approximately 3.1 million people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas are food insecure, a 48 percent increase since August 2021. Following the expansion of the Emergency Hunger Safety Net program in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera at least one in four households receives KES 5,400 every two months, along with humanitarian aid, fueling the crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) Results. Other rangelands continue to be in crisis (IPC phase 3), with decline in rangeland resources and poor short rainy season limiting household access to income and food. The results of the area-level crisis (IPC Phase 3) are also emerging in parts of Samburu, Baringo, Meru North and Kitui as rain harvest is poor and rangeland resources are declining.
Crop production was severely impacted by a late start, poor timing and cumulative below-average rainfall during the short October-December rains, resulting in a significantly below-average harvest. According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), the corn harvest in the marginal agricultural areas is 45-50 percent of the five-year national corn production average. There was widespread under-crop production in the marginal agricultural areas, with crop failures in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Tharaka Nithi, where maize production was 1-7 percent of the five-year average. In the marginal agricultural areas, most poor households have one to two months’ worth of food supplies, compared to the typical two to four months before household food supplies run out.
In the grazing areas, dwindling forage and water resources have meant that livestock have been kept in the dry season grazing areas and have continued to migrate in search of pasture and water, leading to intercommunal conflicts over rangeland resources. Due to famine, disease, and long trekking distances, declining livestock health has led to widespread cattle deaths in pastoral counties. In Marsabit, it is estimated that up to 9 percent of livestock herds have died due to the drought. Livestock loss, below-average milk production, and declining goat-to-corn trade conditions in the northern and eastern rangelands leave households facing food insecurity in crisis (IPC phase 3) and emergency (IPC phase 4) outcomes . With around 11 percent of Kenya’s 2021 drought appeal being funded, more support is likely needed to save herdsmen’s livelihoods during the projected below-average long rains of March-May 2022.