SJ WorldNews - шаблон joomla Авто

Tegemeo Institute Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.

Situational Assessment of Food Security in Kenya

Posted by on in Uncategorized
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 3282
  • Print

The current drought situation in Kenya has begun debate about our preparedness as a country in responding to incidences of drought, and whether we ever learn from such incidences to inform our response strategies. The country has, in recent times faced droughts that continue to increase both in frequency and intensity. This coupled by increasing levels of poverty, has made it difficult for many households to cope with the incidences of drought. The drought has affected crop and livestock production and yields. The result of the prolonged drought is that many people are staring at famine, unless measures are taken to address the situation.

Under normal rain conditions, annual maize production in Kenya is about 40 million bags while the annual maize demand is between 38 million and 51 million bags based on annual per capita consumption of between 72 and 98 kg. The national maize yields have remained low, averaging about 1.67 tons per hectare compared to yields of up to 6 tons per hectare in the developed countries. Since 1994, maize consumption has outstripped production and the country has to meet the deficit through imports, mainly from the neighboring countries.

Maize production during the 2016 long rains fell short of the projected levels by about 5 million bags. In addition, only about 25% (1.7 million bags) of the projected maize production in the short rains season was realized. According to the food situation assessment and projections recently conducted by Egerton University’s Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, the country had about 12.3 million bags by the beginning of the year, enough to last only up to April. The early harvest from South Rift is likely to be poor this year due to the prolonged drought and the maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND). The country needs to import at least 9 million bags to ensure maize availability up to July when the earliest harvests are expected.

Cross-border maize inflows from neighboring countries have been minimal, largely because the neighboring countries have also been affected by the ongoing drought. Wholesale prices in most urban centers in the region are above Ksh 3,500 per 90-kg bag, and are relatively higher than the world price of Ksh 1,667. Average wholesale maize prices are generally 27% above the 5-year national average. It is unlikely that farmers are still holding large maize stocks. Maize flour price is for the first time since 2012 higher than wheat flour price. For example, the price of a 2-kg packet of maize flour currently retail at Ksh 153 on average, compared to Ksh 120 for wheat flour on average.

From the foregoing, it is evident that the country is staring at a looming maize shortage, hence famine, unless maize is imported to meet the deficit. How should the government respond to the current food situation? Is it already late? Government’s response can be short, medium and long term. First, the government needs to immediately forestall the current high and escalating maize prices. The government recently removed maize import duty and VAT on bread and maize flour. While these measures are welcome, these measures may be a little too late given that it takes 45-60 days to deliver the imports. Better surveillance and a faster response to warnings of a looming food shortage are needed to improve response and avoid situations of famine and starvation. A decision to import maize, when needed, must be made with good lead time.

Medium term responses will have to focus on increased production; building strategic food reserves; better extension services to improve productivity through enhanced farm management

practices; subsidy programs; water harvesting and small scale irrigation projects; better monitoring of food situation; better preparedness and response to food outlook reports; incorporating climate change in programs and projects; and better understanding of existing food consumption patterns. It is critical to evaluate interventions and programs put in place in response to previous droughts and see what is working and what is not working. In the long term, the country should focus on research and development of drought tolerant crops and irrigation development in order to exploit the production potential of its vast ASAL lands.

Prepared by Francis Karin Senior Research Assistant, Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University



Subscribe to our newsletter

Style Setting




Template Widths

px  %

px  %