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UN warns of worsening hunger in East Africa amid third consecutive failed rainy season

NEW YORK, 14 July 2017 : The third consecutive failed rainy season in East Africa has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required, the United Nations agricultural agency has warned.

According to an alert released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), poor rains have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead.

“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon in a news release. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”

The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.

Increasing humanitarian need

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in these five countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 per cent since late 2016.

In Somalia, almost half of the total population is lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high and milk production from the surviving animals has declined sharply with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.

“When we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create, it is evident that supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential,” said Mr. Burgeon.

Poor crop prospects

In several cropping areas across the region, poor rains have caused sharp reductions in planting, and wilting of crops currently being harvested. Despite some late rainfall in May, damage to crops is irreversible.

In addition, fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation.

Cereal prices are surging, driven by reduced supplies and concerns over the performance of current-season crops. Prices in May were at record to near-record levels in most markets and up to double their year-earlier levels.

Global Food Security Portal

  • Improving Nutrition through Biofortification: Micronutrient deficiencies afflict more than two billion individuals worldwide. A recent article in Global Food Security reviews evidence from the HarvestPlus program on how biofortification has helped improve nutrition worldwide between 2003 and 2016.
  • REDD Policy Impacts on the Agri-food Sector and Food Security: Since a REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) agreement was reached at COP 16 in 2010, REDD policies have been introduced with the goal of preserving forests and proposals have been put forward to compensate developing countries for avoided deforestation. However, such policies may have an impact on global food security.
  • FAO Food Price Trend Report Released: The FAO’s monthly report on food price trends was released on February 13. The bulletin reports on recent food price developments over the past month at the global, regional, and country levels, with a focus on developing countries, and provides early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security.

Remember to register as a member to receive the latest information. For more information about global food and nutrition security, check out our Global Food Security Portal, and remember to follow the Food Security Portal on social media on Twitter and Facebook.
Best Regards,
The Food Security Portal Team




About 900 women from pastoralist communities in northern Kenya have netted Sh10 million from export of home-made bead products to clients in the US and Australia.

The products like earrings, bracelets, rings, key holders and belts have elicited interest among Europeans who have placed an order for various products yet to be delivered worth Sh5.1 million .The export of beads has provided marginalized women with stable cash flow to cover daily expenses.

The project was mooted after studies conducted in the northern eastern region showed that empowering women helped to improve livelihoods by enabling children access education, families to enjoy better meals and be able to save for the future .Women have been trained on how to account for the funds as well as equipped–Australia-/-/539552/2409408/-/g31py7/-/index.html

KCB interest-free loan to unlock arid area potential KCB interest-free loan to unlock arid area potential

KCB interest-free loan to unlock arid area potential

Nairobi; Kenya: Kenya Commercial Bank ( KCB) Chairman Ng’eny Biwott’s recent offer of interest-free loans to livestock farmers in arid and semi-arid areas of Baringo, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana and Isiolo counties has the potential of changing the entire industry and ending poverty and dependency. This can of course only happen if leaders take up the offer by appointing extension officers to work with wananchi on the ground. These officers will have their work cut out for them in their engagement with people at the grassroots. Though it may not be easy, it is attainable. What is promising is that both the national and county governments are aware of the daunting task and what should be prioritised to make these areas self-sufficient in food production, as well as contribute towards national development. The scourge of insecurity and cattle rustling that has afflicted the region for decades have to be dealt with decisively once and for all.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi is aware of this as evidenced in his call last week for unity to end cattle rustling and insecurity. This, as the senator noted, could be instrumental in dealing a deathblow to the risky existence in the area and foster peace. The senator note that, “We have to lead from the front. It is why I am calling on all the leaders from the region to come together and advise our people on the importance of maintaining peace. Violence is suppressing development and it is high time things changed.” The national government’s decision to spend Sh400 million in building 81 water pans in these areas could have given new impetus to the campaign for peace and focus on income-generating initiatives to eradicate poverty.
MODERN VETERINARY SERVICES The multi-million shilling project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Already, 26 water pans in Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties have been built. But provision of water alone is not enough. This commendable effort should be accompanied by the adoption of modern veterinary services to uplift and improve the livelihood of the poor pastoralists. The expectation is that county authorities will build schools and health centres near the water pans, and the people encouraged to settle in these areas and adopt crop production. The ultimate objective would be to break the cycle of poverty and misery that bedevils pastoralists, whose flocks ironically are worth millions of shillings.
Just as the national government benchmarks against good practices in other countries, the county governments should also make reference to successful case studies in other counties if they are to achieve their objectives. Politically, such achievements come with the promise of reelection. Murang’a County for instance has set an exemplary standard, by focusing on the dairy industry as one of its key economic drivers for wealth creation. By introducing subsidised artificial insemination services and prequalifying milk buyers, the county is empowering farmers to get the best out of their livestock, by improving the quality of cows as well as the price of their products. This is a model that can be adopted by other counties. The prequlaification will largely preclude raw milk vendors from the market, in addition to curbing the common tendency by bulk customers to exploit dairy farmers by arbitrarily offering low prices. The outcome is that there will be an element of market predictability, which can spur investment in the industry. The multiplier effect is staggering and other counties should make an effort to borrow a leaf from Murang’a. Access to markets The arid and semi-arid regions could particularly benefit from the Murang’a model to improve the quality of their livestock, even if beef production is their economic mainstay. Diversifying into milk production in these areas can also help in further securing their economic status. According to experts, livestock improvement programmes would cost less and cumulatively yield more than the uncoordinated manner in which some counties have opted to build abattoirs in the region. While there is nothing wrong in putting up abattoirs, it is advisable that such projects be implemented only after establishing market demand and putting other infrastructure like all-weather roads in place; otherwise the beef may end up costing even more than anticipated. To his credit, Mr Biwott foresaw this important phase in the agribusiness supply chain when he promised that KCB would help farmers find local and export markets for their beef. Economists are in agreement that banks and other financial institutions have the capacity to unlock the country’s agricultural potential by coming to the aid of pastoralists to access markets. This is because all businesses thrive or fail depending on market accessibility. That is besides the fact that lending institutions are best-placed to understand market dynamics. By deciding to market their customers’ products, the banks would also benefit, not only through increased goodwill of loyal customers, but by enriching the jobs and consequently boosting the morale of their employees as well.
Bank boosts livestock farmers with Sh1b kitty Bank boosts livestock farmers with Sh1b kitty

Bank boosts livestock farmers with Sh1b kitty

Photo of a herder in Marsabit County.
The fund will boost livestock farmers in arid and semi arid areas.


free fund will increase productivity as well as increase farmers’ incomes.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has established a Sh1 billion revolving fund for livestock farmers in Arid and Semi-Arid areas (Asal). The credit is designed to commercialize livestock industry and enable farmers increase production as well as income. KCB Foundation Manager Rachel Gathoni, in an interview last week said the fund will be interest-free. For farmers to benefit from the kitty, they must be in groups such as cooperative societies to ensure security provision to the individual borrower. “We intend to reach as many livestock farmers in the Asal areas as possible with the view of boosting their livelihoods. Further, we expect the support will lead to high output to meet the increasing demand of livestock products in the local as well as the global market,” said Ms Gathoni.

The Sh30 million pilot project was commissioned in May this year, in Baringo County targeting 50,000 farmers where they are being vetted and organised into groups. “Doing so is to enable us assist the farmers build up a strong credit history so that they can even access more loans,” she added. The kitty enable farmers improve nutrition and health of their livestock and help facilitate their access to the market. The programme addresses value addition and will be rolled out to all 47 counties next year. Majority of the leather livestock products, mostly skins and hides are exported in raw form and semi-finished due to lack of capacity by local manufacturers to carry out value addition. Value addition The Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development early this year launched a five year strategic plan that seeks to boost industrialization and enhance value addition on leather products.

Value addition in leather industry has remained low over the years but the situation has been changing since 2004 when the Government introduced export taxes on leather products in a bid to enable the industry earn more for the country. In this year’s budget, the Government allocated Sh3 billion for the leather and textile industry. Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed in an interview last week, disclosed that the local leather industry has a capacity to make up to Sh55 billion to the Gross Domestic Product. Despite huge demand for leather and its products, Mohamed regretted the demand is heavily reliant on imported supplies against a current local supply of less than four million units annually. Gathoni said this will increase farmers productivity to meet the increasing demand of red meat in the global market. “Kenya is net exporter of red meat. Arab countries sometimes order meat locally but local traders cannot meet the demand due to low production,” she noted

She observed that the bank’s initiative is meant to eradicate poverty and enhance financial inclusion. “Once farmers borrow the money and utilise it well, income on meat and dairy products will increase by 50 per cent and 400 per cent respectively,” she explained.

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Co-Management Model can work ANYWHERE!!!! Co-Management Model can work ANYWHERE!!!!

Co-Management Model can work ANYWHERE!!!!

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) is currently strengthening the sustainability of the County Livestock Marketing Council (CLMC) approach by promoting and piloting a co-management model in all counties .Here ,the CLMC and County Council have developed a revenue sharing plan under which revenue (taxes) collected from the market is shared between the CLMC  and County Council .

The CLMC splits their portion of revenue between community development projects ,market maintenance and incentive payments to the committee members for their service .The model promotes  the sustainability of markets and ensures improved management  though efficient collection of tax and proper service.




In Turkana, things are changing!!! In Turkana, things are changing!!!

In Turkana, things are changing!!!

Confronted by multiple challenges and long-term marginalization , people in Turkana are taking charge of their lives.

In Turkana, county pastoralist have faced challenges preserving their hides, skin and meat after they slaughter their animals .Through the intervention of KLMC and CLMC  they organized

Training on value addition with the help of KLMC donor partner funds was raised for the Construction of tannery in Lodwar rural. The tannery has assisted Turkana CLMC

In adding value to animal products like hides and skins .CLMC in collaboration with Kenya

Leather development cooperation facilitated local capacity training on preparation andreservation of hides and skins into useful animal products. This initiative has enabled them to generate revenue for both pastoralist and CLMC.

tannery 1


Turkana CLMC Treasurer Mr Jackson lele, takes photo by the completed tannery building

EXCELLENT SOLUTION to increase drought resilience and improve socio-economic conditions in WAJIR COUNTY EXCELLENT SOLUTION to increase drought resilience and improve socio-economic conditions in WAJIR COUNTY

EXCELLENT SOLUTION to increase drought resilience and improve socio-economic conditions in WAJIR COUNTY

Wajir County is located in an arid area prone to drought, in the North Eastern part of Kenya. It lies within the Sahelian climatic region, which is characterised by long dry spells and short rainy seasons, with annual average rainfall between 250 to 300mm. About 60% of the population is pastoral, while 23% is agro pastoral. The Baseline economic household survey (2013) – developed during the inception period – indicated that the average monthly household expenditure in Wajir is Kshs 4416 (approx. US$50). This makes Wajir number 5 among the top poorest counties in Kenya, according to the Commission for Revenue Allocation Report CRA (2013).

During periods of drought, lack of fodder is often a major cause of livestock mortality. During the 2009 drought, many households lost up to 65%of their herd, directly resulting in increased levels of poverty and food insecurity. We believe that through sustainable fodder production and marketing, communities can benefit from less volatile/fluctuating incomes and reduced livestock mortality during drought, as they will have access to affordable hay.  Since 2013 The Project has been working with the Mungano Makaror farmers group on fodder production.

Mungano Makaror farming group’ in Wajir East was established in 2004 and has ten members (six women and four men). It is part of the county farmer’s association, and is situated about 15 km outside Wajir town.

The group engages in fodder production, but also produces different types of fruits including pawpaw, bananas and citrus, and they keep small ruminants.


Sustainability and the way forward

Fodder production is an excellent solution to increase drought resilience and improve socio-economic conditions. The Mungano Makaror farmers group started producing fodder themselves after the 2009 drought, when they saw the benefits of fodder production. With the assistance of SNV, ILRI and KLMC they have been able to significantly increase their production. They are eager to continue with fodder activities (even without external assistance) as they see the business opportunities of being able to sell hay to pastoralists during drought periods.

SNV, ILRI and KLMC will continue providing support to local fodder groups in Wajir and other ASAL counties, with the aim of making them viable micro-enterprises that will continue their business after the project has ended. The project will furthermore look at the possibility of using solar energy for irrigation, as well as assisting the County Government/NDMA to mainstream the process of buying fodder from the farmers for strategic reserves.

By documenting and sharing experiences and livelihood impacts of the market and fodder interventions the project aims to serve both pastoralist communities as well as local government authorities in maintaining and scaling up these models. The Project is currently using the Mungano Makaror Farmers group as an example for other groups from within and outside Wajir County – among others through exchange and learning visits.

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 “The project has helped us attain knowledge on fodder production because now we know which seeds to plant and how, and we also have a baling box to use for packing the fodder for sale. Now we are able to produce much more than we could before the project, and we are willing to continue with the initiative”

Guhad Faral, Chairman of the Muungano Makaror Farmers Group




Faiya cultural women group in Isiolo  was identified – a total of  13 trainees and mobilized for the training through their group leader.

Quick assessment on bones was done by visiting a slaughter house in Isiolo in the outskirts of the town, James Muthee one of the person in charge of the slaughter unit provided us with the information we needed. Here they slaughter averagely four camels per day and this translates to 104 camels slaughtered in a month guaranteeing sustainable production of bones for craft products. Cow and goats were also being slaughtered in tens per day which gave a positive indication of more availability of other related bones and horns available to sustain production of crafts in Isiolo County.

Few camel bones were found but of particular type which is normal because the other types usually are transported with meat to the butcheries where the bones are disposed after selling the meat. Camel tooth which forms another part of useful raw material in this line were also found to be available from one of the slaughter attendant by the name Nyayo. This attendant admitted that he stores camel tooth at his home at (Sokoyamolokony) and sells them to one particular buyer at about Ks 70 per tooth.

A lot of cow horns were found dumped at the dumping site near the slaughter center and were good quality but some were found scattered within the slaughter. Cow horns form an important part of raw materials in handicraft development and it was important to note how they are managed as well.  Mr. Naftali Kiambi one of the attendants said they did not know what to do with the horns and they would be happy to give them out at no charge to the women group but consider charging for a small fee in the feature.

They expressed desire to see what products are made out of the horns hoping that this would to motivate them to collect and store more horns. Mzee Aboko who collects horns and put them at one location within slaughter agreed to give out some horns without charging the women for their experiment. Twenty pieces of cow horns were given out.

Trainees were taken through atleast six stages of product development.


At the end of the training a number of products were ready both in cow horn and camel bones.





  • Dyed brown  flat key holders made from flat camel leg bone(Ire)  Measuring  8cmx 3.5cm
  • Natural color flat key holders made from flat camel leg bone(Ire) Measuring 8cmx 3.5cm
  • Dyed orange flat key holders made from flat camel leg bone(Ire) Measuring 8cmx 3.5cm
  • Natural black cow horn beaded key holder(gees)  Measurement Diameter 3cm
  • Drinking cow horn black in color  with holder
  • Black cow horn necklace
District HIV/AID Coordinator explaining the current status on HIV / AID to the DLMC members District HIV/AID Coordinator explaining the current status on HIV / AID to the DLMC members

District HIV/AID Coordinator explaining the current status on HIV / AID to the DLMC members






HIV/AIDS is one of the devastating catastrophe that has one of the most negative and long lasting impacts on almost all social economic aspects of life and sectors.  It has perpetuated poverty, food insecurity, gender disparity and has overwhelmed traditional social support systems.

By the end of 2006, UNAIDS estimated that there were about 39.5 million people globally living with HIV& AIDS (2.6 million more than in 2004). And about 2.9 million died due to AIDS related diseases by the end of 2006.  With nearly 90% of the infected being adults in economically productive years, and more than 75% of them living in sub-Sahara Africa, and 52% of the affected being women and girls. Development and social-economic specialists concur that the negative impacts of the HIV& AIDS pandemic will be felt for decades, even if an HIV vaccine or AIDS cure was to be discovered today.

Available data (NACC December 2006) indicate that about 1.3million Kenyans are infected with HIV while about 1.5 million people have died from HIV/AIDS related causes. Although the national prevalence has declined significantly from a peak of about 14% in 2000 to the current 5.9% (NACC Dec, 2006) the cumulative AIDS deaths continue to rise and the impact on society is becoming increasingly severe. The Economic survey report of 2003 indicates that AIDS has greatly affected the workforce.  For instance, the formal private sector in Kenya employs 1.1 million people (accounting for 61% of all formal jobs) and has about 112,000 of its employees infected with HIV. 15% of this population require comprehensive care and support services.

Development and social-economic specialists concur that the negative impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic will be felt for decades, even if the HIV cure was to be discovered today. Unfortunately, with each person infected with HIV, a family is forever affected particularly the most dependent members –the youngest and the oldest generation. This explains why AIDS is breeding a generation of orphaned and vulnerable children who continue to face the unfair challenges of unmet basic needs during their critical time of development.

In spite of the opportunity organizations have in the workplace to strategically respond to HIV/AIDS prevention, AIDS continues to affect the fundamental rights at work particularly with respect to discrimination and stigmatization against workers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  It has also led to loss of skilled manpower, institutional memory loss and man-hours due to prolonged illness, increased cost of health care, welfare and funeral expenses. Health care costs for workers living with AIDS are largely shifted to the individuals and their households. In order to support workers living with AIDS, households have to cope with dwindling family resources, disruptions in their livelihood initiatives and limited access to basic human needs such as equal education for children, quality care and support services. The impact will continue to compromise efforts made in sustainable development unless all adapts a strategic response to HIV/AIDS.



  • Strong cultural practices among the pastoralists are the sanctuary for the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. Such practices include; polygamy, wife inheritance, wife sharing, unsafe circumcisions and FGM and use of un-sterilized instruments at childbirth, body tattooing and piercing.
  •  Livestock traders are also considered to be the main players in the spread of HIV/AIDS among the pastoralists. It was noted that when some of this pastoralists sell their livestock in the terminal market in the urban areas, they use the money they earned out of the animal sale to buy local brews and engaging in unprotected sexual relations with high risk groups such as commercial sex workers. This increases the web of infections and transmissions among the pastoralists as shown below.
  •  Vulnerability to the AIDS infections is accelerated by non-adherence to the principles of human rights and wide spread abuse of women. For pastoralists’ women right to security, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, information, education, expression, association are not in existence. This impedes on their ability to gather information on HIV/AIDS and take measures to avoid infections.
  •  Because of the high level of illiteracy among the pastoralists any issue about HIV/AIDS, which are advertised through mass media, do not reach them because they don’t understand they either don’t the language or no access to the information.
  •  Poor communication network: The roads in most of the pastoralists’ areas are weather roads whose life depends on the vagaries of weather. The poor infrastructure and poor communication network has cut off the pastoralists from information superhighway. Therefore, there is clear absence of reliable and consistent information on HIV/AIDS for pastoral communities.
  •  Nomadic nature of pastoralists also hinders them from accessing the few medical centres that are usually located in urban areas.
  •  High level of poverty in the region has hindered adequate utilization of few facilities available in at medical centres because they are unable to pay for the services.
  •  Conflict and displacements among the pastoralists’ communities have become the order of the day. Such conflict instigates rural-urban migration and associated exposure to HIV/AIDS. Women are especially very vulnerable to sexual exploitation out of their desperation. Conflict is also associated with rape, impoverishment and a breakdown of social order, which contributes directly to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  •  Destitute pastoralists move to urban areas in search for manual jobs. Most of these immigrants live in urban centres alone leaving their wives in their rural homes. In the stint of separation the men occasionally utilize the services of commercial sex workers unprotected, hence they contract HIV/AIDS consequently infecting their wives.




Recommendations to the livestock traders made as a way of ensuring HIV/AIDS prevalence/spread is reduced;

  • HIV/AIDS awareness creation e.g
  • Need of voluntary testing
  • Use of condoms
  • Being faithful to one partner/spouse
  • Stigma reduction
  • Circumcision
  • Discuss HIV/AIDS in the family
  • Provide home based care to the affected persons
  • Training other members at the grass root levels
  • Collection of data on HIV/AIDS affected and infected persons to the right authorities and stakeholders.


KLMC with the support from OXFAM GB developed a workplace policy.

This HIV/AIDS workplace policy provides an institutional framework for development, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive programs that:

  • Creates awareness/education on HIV/AIDS among the staff, management and board;
  • Promotes access to HIV/AIDS prevention and behaviour change interventions;
  • Protects the rights and dignity of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS;
  • Develops a comprehensive institutional framework to enhance linkages and partnerships to increase access to care and support for workers and their families;
  • Provides for dispute resolution mechanisms and;
  • Provides M&E guidelines.

The HIV/AIDS workplace policy is not only compliant with The Joint Oxfam HIV/AIDS program strategic priority for East and Central Africa but, it is also in line with the Kenya government’s National AIDS Strategic Plan (KNASP-2005-2010) and the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2006. The KNASP calls for multi-sectoral approach that involves civil society and development partners among others to adopt strategic response in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which include workplace policy and mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS to core business.

 The policy is also compliant with the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) code of conduct on HIV/AIDS in the workplace (revised edition of 2002) and with the International Labour Organization (ILO) codes of practice on HIV/AIDS that promotes protection of the rights and the dignity of workers and persons living with HIV and AIDS (ILO, 1997).



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