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USAID predicts great year-end for pastoralists

Kenyan pastoralists in arid and semi arid areas are expected to be food secure in the January 2016 due to end-year El-Nino rains, an international agency’s famine arm has said.

USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) says seasonal recovery of rangeland resources will increase pastures for livestock of the the people in drier areas.

FEWS NET is a tool that provides evidence-based analysis on food security in 35 countries.

The pastoral areas in Kenya include Marsabit and Narok.

 “With livestock having been migrated back to wet-season grazing areas, livestock productivity will increase as pasture, browse, and water become more available,” says the FEWS NET report.

“Milk production and consumption are expected to increase as kidding, lambing, and calving occur more often in December.”

Holding back

The report further shows that a few farmers would sale their livestock, owing to improved animal body conditions. Further, the report shows that those who will sell, would get better prices, boosting their income and support food purchases.

“Despite an expected gradual increase in cereal prices, a larger increase in livestock prices will result in stable or improving livestock-to-cereal terms of trade through January.”

Southern Kenya

In the southeastern and coastal marginal agricultural areas, the report says that the recent short (El Nino) rains “led to higher-than-normal demand for agricultural labor, resulting in above-average household incomes.”

“An above-average harvest is expected in February, and the harvesting of short-cycle crops starting in December is expected to further increase household food consumption,” the report says.

Some damage

In the meantime, the short- and medium-term weather forecasts project that above-average short rains are to continue resulting in flash floods, river flooding, and lakeshore flooding through the end of the year.

“ It is likely that flooding will displace people, increase the incidences of water- and vector-borne diseases, damage roads, limit access to markets, and cause human and livestock deaths. Some of the areas most likely to flood, which were already acutely food insecure, include southern Marsabit, western Mandera, and northern Wajir and Garissa.”


But as flood waters recede in late December and January,  normal livelihood activities are expected to resume, and markets are anticipated to function again, with households in these regions expected to increase crop and livestock production.

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