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Kenya: Decline in Livestock Prices, Rise in Food Prices Haunt Kenyans #AfricaClimateCrisis

The National Drought Management Authority reports that the drought condition in the country has continued to deteriorate as several parts of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) remained relatively dry and sunny with 20 out of the 23 arid and semi-arid counties affected.

Several parts of ASALs remained relatively dry in July and experienced below-average rainfall impacting negatively on crop production and worsening the condition of livestock across the ASALs. The August 2022 weather outlook indicates that several parts of the ASALs (95%) will be typically dry and sunny.

Seven counties namely Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Laikipia and Marsabit are in alarm drought phase while thirteen counties including Embu, Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi are in alert drought phase. The remaining three counties including Baringo, West Pokot and Lamu are in normal drought phase after receiving moderate off-season rains.

Two sub counties in Garissa (Balambala, Lagdera) are in Extreme vegetation deficit band, while three counties (3); Isiolo, Laikipia and Mandera are in severe vegetation deficit. Eleven counties including; Garissa, Kajiado, Kilifi, Kitui, Kwale, Mandera, Meru, Samburu, Taita Taveta, Tana River, and Wajir are in Moderate vegetation deficit.

Four counties including; Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, West Pokot and Turkana recorded normal vegetation greenness while five (5) counties including; Embu, Baringo, Lamu, Narok and Nyeri recorded above normal vegetation greenness.

Malnutrition has also been noted across the counties with 884,464 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 115,725 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished and in need of treatment. This has been aggravated by a decline in milk production. The current milk production status is below average compared to a normal year, with Makueni and Tharaka Nithi County being the only county above long-term average (LTA).

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Livestock mortalities have also been reported in some parts of Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Mandera counties.

A decline in livestock prices, increase in cereal prices, and the general increase in prices of most consumer goods continues to undermine the purchasing power of households, exacerbating food insecurity in ASAL counties. With the deterioration of drought, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance in Kenya is projected to increase further to about 4.35 million by October given the worsening drought trends.

In all counties, the prices of maize were at a stable and worsening trend in July as compared to the previous month. Current maize prices are above LTAand worsening trend as compared to the previous month due to depletion of stocks that has resulted to increase in maize prices. 10

The government has enhanced drought interventions in the affected sectors including livestock offtake, water tracking, provision of livestock feeds and supplements and food and safety nets.

Kenya is among the Horn of Africa countries affected by the current severe drought in the region that has left millions across the region, Somalia and Ethiopia facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition.

The following are some of the recommendations that have been made for the government to sustain people in need of help:

– Provision of food assistance and scaling up of cash transfers targeting households that are currently food insecure as a result of the prevailing drought stress.

– Provision of livestock feeds and supplements

– Rehabilitation and maintenance of water facilities

– Support on hygiene and sanitation promotions.

– Provision of food to subsidize school fees in boarding secondary schools

– Coordination of peace and security activities in conflict prone counties.

– Support County Steering Groups (CSGs) to effectively coordinate drought response activities.

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