Persistence of severe drought is likely to push the number of hungry Kenyans beyond the 1.3 million already considered “food insecure,” a United Nations agency warned on Tuesday.
“Based on the latest predictions, the impacts of the current drought in the southern part of the country will lessen by mid-2017, but counties in the north — in particular Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera — will steadily get worse,” the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation said.
“Production prospects for the current crops are highly unfavourable and households are expected to enter the next lean season much earlier than usual,” FAO added in an alert covering parts of Kenya and other East African countries.
In Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, a total of nearly 12 million people are currently in need of emergency food assistance, FAO calculated. It included 5 million Somalis in that number, along with 5.6 million Ethiopians.
Eastern Tanzania and southeastern Ugandan are also experiencing crop failures due to rainfall amounts far below average this year, the agency noted.
“Production prospects for the current crops are highly unfavourable and households are expected to enter the next lean season much earlier than usual,” FAO said in regard to the affected regions of East Africa.
Terms of trade are becoming increasingly poor for livestock keepers in northern Kenya due to the weakened condition of their sheep, goats and cows, which are bringing lower market prices, the UN agency said.
FAO is helping local officials improve management of livestock markets, in addition to providing feed, water and veterinary support in drought-afflicted pastoral areas of Kenya, the agency reports.