Above-average production expected from 2015/16 “short-rains” season crops

The 2015/16 “short-rains” harvest is currently underway in bi-modal rainfall areas. Cereal production is estimated at well above-average levels, with particularly good prospects for crops in southeastern and coastal areas where the ongoing harvest accounts for about 70 percent of the total annual crop production. Here, abundant rainfall, largely attributed to the strong El NiAo phenomenon, despite some localized floods, benefited crops through an even temporal and spatial distribution and a timely onset, which induced farmers to significantly increase the area planted.

Aggregate cereal production in 2015 is estimated at 4.3 million tonnes, 9 percent up from last year and similar to the average of the previous five years. Accordingly, cereal import requirements for the 2015/16 marketing year (July/June) are set to decline by about 9 percent from the previous year to about 2.8 million tonnes, including 1.32 million tonnes of wheat and wheat flour, 810 000 tonnes of maize and 550 000 tonnes of rice.

Good pasture conditions in most northern pastoral areas

In several northern pastoral areas, the abundant “short-rains” have led to the seasonal recovery of rangeland and recharged key water points, increasing livestock productivity and improving food security. The trekking distance to grazing and watering sources has declined to less than 10 kilometres and nearly 90 percent of livestock have migrated back to wet-season grazing areas near homesteads. Livestock body conditions range from fair to good in most areas and are expected to improve further.

By contrast, parts of Isiolo, Wajir, and Garissa counties have been affected by below-average precipitation, with a negative impact on rangeland conditions (see NDVI map).

Maize prices at low levels in most markets

Wholesale prices of maize declined by 10-12 percent from September to December 2015 in most markets with the commercialization of the 2015 “long-rains” season crops. In January, prices leveled-off in the capital, Nairobi, while in Eldoret and Mombasa they started to seasonally increase. Overall, prices in January were around or below their levels of 12 months earlier, on account of adequate domestic availabilities and substantial imports from Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Food security situation improving in most agro pastoral and pastoral areas

The overall food security situation has improved since the end of the lean season in October. The availability of crops from the good 2015 “long-rains” season harvest, coupled with low and declining maize prices has generally improved households’ food access. In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, the above-average “short-rains” harvest will further support household food security. In most pastoral areas, pasture is available near homesteads, due to above-average “short-rains”: as a result, few livestock have migrated and households have access to milk, improving food security.

The country hosts a large number of refugees with about 419 000 refugees from Somalia as of early January 2016. About 80 percent of them reside in Dadaab and Alinjugur refugee camps in northeastern Garissa county where access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, water and sanitation is often precarious due to the high concentration of people. In addition, as of January 2016, an estimated 97 000 refugees have crossed over to Kenya since violence erupted in South Sudan in mid December 2013 and most of them are currently residing in the northwestern area of Kakuma in Turkana county.

Source: GIEWS Country Brief