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The maize crop performance in 2013 is expected to be below that of last year. According to assessment by Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University, the long rains maize output is estimated to be 28.8 million bags, representing a shortfall of 14 million bags or 33 percent from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries’ target of 43 million bags. An additional 4 to 5 million bags are expected from the short rains (normally 15% of the long rains harvest).

Therefore, the estimated total output for 2013/14 year is at 33.9 million bags, 15 percent below the national consumption estimated at 40 million bags. Tegemeo’s assessment of maize stocks as at the end of January 2014 is 12 million bags. If the country realizes the normal short rains harvest of 4 million bags, then this will last an additional 3-4 months (April/May).

While the food security situation looks positive in the short-term, there is need for close monitoring of the 2013/14 maize crop performance and food stocks in order to guard against volatility in food prices or shortfalls in maize supply that could threaten the country’s food security in the medium-term.

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Climate change is currently one of the major challenges facing the world. This is particularly so for Sub-Saharan Africa, which has minimal capacity to build resilience against its effects. Climate variability and change and associated droughts and floods directly affect agricultural production and food security given that most of the population in Africa lives in the rural areas and relies mainly on rain-fed agriculture for its livelihood.

Climate change thus threatens to impact all aspects of human development, including the physical environment and social vulnerabilities.

Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University seeks to incorporate climate change in its research agenda, and inform policy on mitigation and adaptation strategies necessary to deal with the risks associated with climate variability and change. The Institute aims at strengthening its capacity in research on climate change issues and to conduct research that is expected to provide empirical evidence on the effects of climate change on rural households and strategies used by these households to build resilience in the face of climate change.

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Improving agricultural productivity is crucial in enhancing food security and accelerating pro-poor growth. Various functions in implementation of programmes/projects that are geared towards mitigating food insecurity and poverty reduction have been decentralized to the local level (district and below) as a way of increasing responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency.

This has been achieved by establishment of organs through which various functions are effected and by involvement of various stakeholders, including the farmers.

To ensure that initiatives are/remain relevant to the needs of local communities particularly the poor and vulnerable, it is important to continually review the governance mechanisms that are in place at these local levels.

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The need to contain food prices is critical for every nation and society. While ensuring affordability and accessibility of food for all, low food prices do also help contain inflation thus allowing for increased investment and growth. Kenya has been grappling with high food prices since 2008, a situation that has no doubt contributed to increasing demand for higher wages for workers.

While various initiatives and instruments have been used to try and ensure affordable food, the outcomes/results have not been as effective as intended. This is evidenced by the high and rising food prices experienced today.

This scenario underscores the need for continued dialogue and deliberation on feasible options that could present better opportunities for ensuring lower and stable food prices and food security for all.

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Welcome to the Tegemeo Institute blog page. Here you will find information on issues related to the research and analysis work conducted by the Institute and so much more ...

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