Below-average prices for basic food mitigate the falling availability of household food
The cumulative below-average short rains from March to May in eastern and northern Kenya led to below-average crop production and the associated income from odd agricultural work. In the pasture areas, the below-average rejuvenation of the forage has affected the productivity of the animals, which is reflected in falling cattle prices. Below average household incomes and sources of food mainly lead to the outcomes of stress (IPC phase 2) across the country and crises (IPC phase 3) in northern Kenya.
As the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows, the vegetation conditions in the north, northwest, south of Kenya and in parts of northeast Kenya are over 140 percent of the average (Figure 2). In central and western Kenya, vegetation greenness is 105-130 percent of the average, while eastern Kenya is 75-90 percent of normal, with localized areas along the coast being less than 60 percent of the average. Water availability for livestock in the pasture areas, with the exception of Marsabit and Wajir counties, is low, 22-72 percent above average, as pasture land resources decline. This has led to increased cattle migration and a decline in animal body condition.
The prices of staple foods across the country showed declining trends due to the increasing supply from cross-border imports. Corn prices in May in Nyeri, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa were 11-28 percent above the five-year average, driven by increased demand for human and animal consumption and high marketing costs. However, corn prices in all markets were between an average of and 9-30 percent below average, stabilized by cross-border imports and the availability of some substitutes such as cassava. In May, dry bean prices were within the five-year average in Taita Taveta and 9-10 percent below average in Kisumu and Eldoret, due to a combination of cross-border imports and available local long rain crops. In the rest of the markets, bean prices were 9-22 percent above average, driven by continued demand and low supply.
As of June 6, there were 183,603 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kenya with a seven-day moving average of 534 daily confirmed COVID-19 cases. On June 17, thirteen counties in western Kenya were subjected to additional containment measures, including extended curfews, a 30-day closure of non-food and livestock markets, and that due to the discovery of three new COVID-19 variants and a steady increase in confirmed daily cases Prohibition of public events and gatherings. The previous restrictions apply in the rest of the country. The COVID-19 restrictions are driving the outcomes of the crisis (IPC Phase 3) among the urban poor as below-average access to income leads households to pursue unsustainable coping strategies to fill income and food consumption gaps.