Kenya Short Rains Assessment Report 2008

Date: 11 Mar 2008

Kenya Short Rains Assessment Report 2008



The Short Rains Assessment 2008 was conducted in February 2008 to determine the impact of the short rains season on the food security situation of arid and semi arid districts. Assessments were also conducted in the conflict-affected areas to evaluate the impacts of the post election violence on food security in the most affected areas. Thirty one representative districts falling into seven broad livelihood clusters were assessed including:

1. Northern Pastoral (Turkana, Moyale, Marsabit and Samburu Districts);
2. Eastern Pastoral (Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo and Tana River Districts);
3. Agro-Pastoral (Baringo, West Pokot, Narok, Kajiado and Laikipia Districts);
4. Coastal Marginal Agricultural (Taita Taveta, Malindi, Kilifi and Kwale Districts);
5. Eastern Marginal Agricultural (Tharaka, Mbeere, Machakos, Mwingi, and Kitui Districts);
6. North Rift and Western Mixed Farming (Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Lugari, Kakamega, and Bungoma).
7. South Rift (Nakuru, Nakuru North, Naivasha and Molo)
8. Central Mixed Farming (Nyandarua).

Clusters six and seven represented the conflict-affected areas that are generally food secure during normal times. The assessment teams were composed of government and non-government experts from both food and non-food sectors since the field of food security analysis is broad and multi-sectoral.

Key Findings

Rainfall Performance

The rains were inadequate and poorly distributed both spatially and temporally in several northern and eastern pastoral areas; agro-pastoral; coastal and eastern marginal agricultural regions.

The intensity, spatial and temporal distribution of the long rains was varied across the country. The short rains were below normal in the coastal marginal agricultural livelihood; 50-80 percent in most areas along the coast and 20-50 percent in the hinterland. The rains were 20-50 percent below normal in the northern pastoral, agro pastoral and eastern marginal areas with a few areas receiving 50-80 percent of the normal rainfall. The lake basin marginal agricultural and eastern pastoral livelihoods received 80-120 percent of normal rainfall. Rains were generally above average in the important unimodal ?grain basket? North Rift.

National Food Security Situation

Consecutive improvement in the food security status of most livelihoods in the past three seasons has been interrupted in marginal agricultural, pastoral and agro-pastoral areas after a poor 2007 short rains season. Post election violence has compounded the situation through increased disruption of markets leading to increased food prices; impairing agricultural production through increased costs of inputs in the mixed farming regions in Rift Valley, Western and Central Provinces; and lack of access and loss of household income-generating business enterprises. However, the adverse effects of the poor rains were mitigated by unseasonable precipitation in early January in some areas in the marginal agricultural and eastern pastoral regions.

Recommencement of the recovery path for most livelihoods in the country is heavily dependent on favourable long rains in all areas; resettlement of IDPs; supporting agricultural production in the country?s surplus production areas especially North Rift before the critical planting period is over, running concurrently with emergency food and non-food interventions. The combination of displacement and high production costs threatens to reduce land under cultivation in these areas by up to 30% with drop in food production, with the potential to impact negatively on food availability and access country-wide.

Food Security Situation by Livelihoods

In the northern pastoral region, areas that were generally food secure in south western Samburu District have slipped down to borderline food insecure with low resilence, as a result of a poor short rains season. Most of the areas are now at high risk of deteriorating to acute food and livelihood crisis.

The food security situation in Turkana District has already deteriorated from borderline food insecure to acute food and livelihood crisis because of a combination of poor short rains; increasing insecurity; inaccessibility of some dry season grazing areas as a result of insecurity and high cost of food due to post election disruption of the food supply chain.

The food security condition in the agro-pastoral region has deteriorated from generally food secure with low resilience to borderline food insecure in West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia and Kajiado Districts. The deterioration is attributed to diminishing pasture and water availability, increased livestock disease infection leading to quarantine and closure of some markets. Narok District which was previously generally food secure with low resilience is now under alert as is Laikipia and Kajiado. Most areas in West Pokot and Baringo District are at high risk of further deteriorating to acute food and livelihood crisis.

There is a gradual deterioration in the food security in eastern pastoral region with the appearance localized areas reporting acute food and livelihood crisis in Mandera and Wajir District as access to forage and water declines. The area at high risk of depreciating to acute food and livelihood crisis expanded slightly in Wajir, Garissa and Tana River Districts. Unseasonable rains in January 2008 mitigated adverse impacts of the poor short rains in some areas.

Gradual worsening of the food security status is also notable in the coastal marginal agricultural region due to crop failure as a result of inadequate and poorly distributed short rains that ended early. Some areas benefited from unseasonable rains in early January 2008. Areas along the coastal strip that were previously generally food secure with low resilience have dropped to borderline food insecure. Although there have been some marginal improvement in the food security situation in Taita Taveta District, large areas are under high and moderate risk of worsening to acute food and livelihood crisis.

In the eastern marginal agricultural region, most of the previously generally food secure areas with low resilience have deteriorated to borderline food insecurity and other remaining areas may follow because of depletion of food stocks and minimal replenishment due to poor performance of the short season. There were some improvements in Mbeere and Tharaka Districts which are no longer at high risk of deteriorating to borderline food insecurity.

Areas adversely affected by the post-election violence include the lake basin agricultural region remains generally food secure with low resilience but under alert because of high prices of food. Most areas in north rift mixed farming region remain generally food secure with large areas under alert as result of increased cost of agricultural inputs and suppressed farm gate prices. However, the food security status of Nakuru District has declined to generally food secure, low resilience and is under watch. The deterioration is attributed to widespread displacement of farming families adversely affecting agricultural production in affected areas.

Nyandarua District in central mixed farming region is generally food secure with high resilience but under alert because the meagre resources of host families are fully stretched. There is a significant number of IDPs hosted by friends and relatives from across the country in Nyandarua District, Nyanza (40-50,000) and to a lesser extent in Kiambu and Nyeri.

Post election violence has damaged the livelihoods of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), most of whom were farming families, traders and generally food secure with high resilience. Those living in IDP camps are under humanitarian emergency. At the time of the assessment there were a 207,000 IDPs living in camps, and an estimated 100-130,000 living integrated with host families.

Full_Report (pdf* format – 1.2 Mbytes)


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