Number of Kenyans facing starvation increases to 2.8m

Written by on January 7, 2022

The number of Kenyans facing starvation has grown by 33 percent in the last five months, as the country faces a potential food crisis, a drought agency has warned.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said the food situation in Kenya has deteriorated with the number of people in need of relief rising from 2.1 million in August to 2.8 million at the end of last year, occasioned by the failed October-November December short rains.

The failure of short rains will have a negative impact on the food as this season’s downpour plays a critical role in supplementing the crop from the main season.

Farmers in eastern and parts of the South Rift rely on these rains to grow the short-term crops harvested around February-March.The agency said maize production is expected to be up to 70 percent lower in marginal agricultural areas while the area under crops across Kenya is estimated to be 50-65 percent below normal.

Already Kenya is feeling the pinch of a shortage of maize supply in the market as farmers who are already anticipating high prices of the produce in the coming months are hoarding the commodity.“Food and nutrition insecurity in Kenya has deteriorated with the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance increasing from 2.1 million in August 2021 to 2.8 million in December 2021 as a result of the below-average October to December short rains,” said the NDMA.“

The situation is expected to worsen over the coming months and interventions will be required, particularly in key sectors of agriculture/livestock, water, health and nutrition, and food assistance.”The shortage of key food crops will add pressure on inflation with the expected increase in the cost of basic commodities.Food takes up the largest share (32.9 percent) of the basket of goods that is used to calculate inflation, making it the main driver of the cost of living.

The Meteorological Department has warned that most parts of Kenya will experience dry weather this January, with some areas expected to receive occasional rainfall in the first and second weeks of the month.The met has urged the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and humanitarian institutions to put in place measures to avert possible negative impacts that may arise such as the loss of lives, livelihoods and property.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY


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