Kenya must adopt measures to avert food crisis
Food Security and Nutrition Working Group is raising a red alert on the worsening situation of food insecurity in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda if the forecasted rainfall deficits materializes.
According to the group, around 10.7 million people are currently food insecure across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Karamoja region in Uganda.
The group says that if the forecasted rainfall fails in April, it would lead to a typical increase in food insecurity, likely to peak from June to October
Northeastern Kenya, south and central Somalia and south and eastern Ethiopia would likely experience a rapid decline in pastoral conditions.
Dry conditions and high temperatures, between January and March, have already led to deterioration in pastures and water availability in these areas, affecting livestock body conditions, reducing milk production, and leading to earlier-than-normal livestock migration.
This, along with the potential of lower than average production of key regional players such as Uganda and Tanzania, could cause price increases and reduce access of poor households to basic food supplies.
However, despite poor agricultural and pastoral conditions, favorable market prices for key staple foods and livestock are facilitating food access for households.
The good performance of last year’s long rains has also mitigated to some extent a further deterioration of conditions.
Cereal prices remain largely below average while livestock prices are similar to or above average across most markets.
Exceptions, however, are conflict-affected areas of southern Ethiopia. Although a temporary relief is expected in pastoral areas during the second half of the rainy season (end of April – May), should rainfall deficits occur, the severity and size of the food insecure population might quickly rise afterwards.
It is also likely to cause further increase in acute malnutrition of children under the age of five, which is already at concerning level.
The Group said it will monitor closely the situation and provide climate updates on a 10-day basis, as well as monthly overall food security updates.