What's Your Question?

10 Fascinating Facts About Kenya

research on food security in kenya

Located right along the equator in East Africa is one of the continent’s better-known countries: Kenya. The beautiful country is a popular travel destination. Here are some fascinating facts to learn about Kenya, Africa before heading there on vacation.

Kenya Has Two Official Languages

The two official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. However, the 43 million people living in the country speak a variety of other languages. Many speak one or more of a dozen indigenous languages in addition to or instead of the two primary languages.

research on food security in kenya

Kenya Is the Birthplace of Humans

Although it’s hard to tell definitively, scientific evidence points to the theory that the area of Northern Kenya and Tanzania is the original birthplace of humans. To date, the earliest bones of humans have been discovered here.

research on food security in kenya

Tourism Is Big Business in Kenya

Tourism is a big income generator in Kenya. Though not the largest contributor to the nation’s GDP, tourism attracts millions of people from all over the world. Many tourists visit to check out the elephants, lions, leopards and other wildlife native to the area.

research on food security in kenya

Kenyans Drink Beverages at Room Temperature

While grabbing a drink from the refrigerator or adding ice to a beverage might be common practice in the United States, it’s not so common in Kenya. Many Kenyans do not own a refrigerator. That means they typically drink beverages and store their food at room temperature.

research on food security in kenya

Many Children Don’t Go to School

Like the United States, Kenya has a public school system that’s open to all children. However, school isn’t compulsory, and many children don’t even have time to go. Instead, they must help their families by tending to cattle, farming, transporting water and cooking.

research on food security in kenya

Kenyans Don’t Drink Coffee

If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s a good chance that you’ve tasted coffee beans from Kenya. It’s one of the biggest crops and moneymakers in the nation, but the people there don’t drink it often or at all. It’s a huge product to export, and Kenyans believe it should all be exported. They prefer to drink tea and beer instead — both at room temperature.

research on food security in kenya

Kenya Gained Its Independence in 1963

Like many other African countries, Kenya has had a tumultuous history when it comes to government. It only gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. In 2010, it went through another shift when the country’s new constitution split the nation into 47 separate counties.

research on food security in kenya

Kenyan Men Can Have Multiple Wives

It’s not uncommon for Kenyan men to have multiple wives. Unlike the United States where people can only have one spouse, men in Kenya can have as many as they wish. However, it comes at a price. Dowries are common practice in Kenya. Men must pay a dowry to their brides’ families before they can wed. Dowries start at 10 cows.

research on food security in kenya

Kenya Is Home to the Big Five

The Big Five refers to five animals that early game hunters identified as the most dangerous and hardest to hunt. Many are endangered, and it is illegal to hunt them. However, people who visit Kenya for a safari hope to capture a glimpse and a photograph of these majestic creatures. The Big Five are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros.

research on food security in kenya

Kenya Has Diverse Ecosystems

When many people visualize Kenya, they picture the dry, grassy savannas or desert ecosystems. While these are both present in Kenya, it’s landscape also includes swamps, mountains and forests with a wide range of plant and wildlife.

research on food security in kenya


research on food security in kenya

Content Search

Kenya: ipc acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition analysis (july - december 2022) published on september 28, 2022, attachments.

Preview of IPC_Kenya_Acute_Food_Insecurity_Malnutrition_2022JulDec_Report.pdf

According to the most recent analysis, from July to September 2022 (lean season), about 3.5 million people (24% of the ASAL population) are facing high levels of acute food insecurity – IPC Phase 3 or above, with about 2.7 million people in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 785,000 people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). This is a 10% increase from the same period in 2021 where 2.1 million people were categorized in IPC Phase 3 and IPC Phase 4. The food insecurity is primarily driven by a combination of shocks, including a fourth successive below average rainy season which was poorly distributed in space and short-lived which resulted in below average crop production to near crop failure and poor livestock production; localised resource-based conflict; and high food prices as a result of the war in Ukraine and low in-country production. The most affected counties, representing 40% of the total country population in IPC Phase 3 or above are: Isiolo (50%), Turkana (50%), Garissa (45%), Mandera (45%), Marsabit (45%), Samburu (45%), Wajir (45%) and Baringo (40%). These are predominantly pastoral livelihoods.

In the projected period (October – December 2022), the food security situation is likely to worsen, and more people may require urgent action to reduce food gaps and protect their livelihoods. About 4.4 million people are projected to face high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above). Overall, 3.1 million people (21% of the population analysed) will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 1.2 million people (8% of the population analysed) in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Seasonal improvement is not projected, as above-average staple food prices driven by low production and limited supplies, combined with inadequate income from agricultural-waged labour opportunities and crop sales will continue to limit household food access in agro-pastoral livelihood zones. In Agro-Pastoral livelihoods, livestock body conditions and productivity are expected to deteriorate due to declining forage and water availability. This will likely result in a decline in household access to food and income, as milk production and livestock sale value are highly affected by the absence of pasture and water.

The nutrition situation has significantly deteriorated across the counties compared to the same season last year. Based on the July 2022 analysis, malnutrition levels were Extremely Critical (IPC AMN Phase 5) in Turkana North, Turkana South and Laisamis sub-counties, critical (IPC AMN Phase 4) in Mandera, Garissa, Turkana West, Turkana central, Wajir, Isiolo, Samburu, North Horr, and Tiaty in Baringo County. Saku, Tana River and West Pokot Counties were classified in serious IPC AMN Phase 3 while Moyale was in Αlert (IPC AMN Phase 2).

Related Content

Kenya + 1 more

Kenya – Mobility Tracking and Multi-sectoral Location Assessment in Marsabit County Round 1 (21 November – 1 December 2022)

Kenya: ipc food security & malnutrition snapshot - acute food insecurity: february - june 2023; acute malnutrition: february - may 2023, kenya: ipc acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition analysis (february - june 2023) published on 20 february 2023, makueni county: drought early warning bulletin for january 2023.

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. A lock ( ) or https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Keyboard Navigation

Agriculture, Food and Water Security

The agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy, contributing approximately 33 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The agriculture sector employs more than 40 percent of the total population and 70 percent of the rural population. However, agricultural productivity has stagnated in recent years. Smallholder farmers and agricultural enterprises continue to face challenges growing their businesses and improving the quality of agricultural goods. We work to enhance agriculture-led economic growth, improve nutrition outcomes, strengthen county government capacity, increase resilience, and build sustainable market systems through private sector engagement. 


Increasing food security.

As part of the Feed the Future initiative, USAID brings partners together to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. We work to enhance food security and increase incomes through improving the competitiveness and diversity of agricultural market systems and livelihoods. The initiative focuses on four main value chains: dairy, livestock, horticulture, and staple foods. We link farmers to markets and modern farming practices, improve quality and supply of agricultural inputs, increase access to financing, and promote private sector solutions. 

Building resilience of vulnerable communities

Feed the Future aims to reduce the need for recurrent humanitarian assistance by accelerating economic growth for vulnerable communities to be able to withstand shocks. Our programs focus on regions in Kenya that experience cyclic shocks, where livestock is central to the economy, and rainfall is increasingly sporadic. USAID also helps pastoralists earn more money from their herds, prevents diseases through increased access to water and sanitation, and improves the management of drought-prone rangelands. Despite the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID activities continue to strengthen vulnerable households by supporting livelihood diversification, increasing access to animal health services, and increasing sustainable management of grazing areas. 

The Horn of Africa crisis in 2011 changed USAID’s approach with a strategic shift to begin co-locating long-term development and humanitarian assistance investments to build household and systems level resilience to prepare for future climatic, conflict, and disease triggered shocks. We work at the community, county, and national level to prepare for climatic shocks like droughts and floods. At the local community level, we have supported communities to create action plans to guide their development priorities. At the county level, county governments have developed sector plans in rangelands and drought management, while at national level, we have worked with the National Drought Management Authority to develop its plan for drought risk management.  

Improving nutrition and access to clean water and sanitation

Inadequate nutrition in children under age five stunts their growth and development. Undernutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, and delays recovery. We increase access to diverse and quality foods to improve the health of women and children. Diarrheal diseases are the third leading cause of death in children under age five. Access to household water, sanitation, and hygiene services affects nutritional status by reducing diarrheal and other infectious diseases, reducing parasitic infections, and reducing pathogenic environments that lead to gut malfunction and poor absorption of nutrients. 

However, only 62% of Kenyans have access to improved drinking water. Even fewer (26%) have access to improved sanitation.  To maximize our efforts, USAID integrates water and sanitation programs with programs focused on nutrition, agriculture, and health. We partner with the government, the private sector, and civil society to strengthen the systems that ensure sufficient water and sanitation service delivery to improve the health and well-being of Kenyans. We focus on market-driven approaches to increase access to water and sanitation services, while protecting watersheds and water resources.  

Private sector investment

USAID aims to create an enabling business environment at all stages of the value chain through expanded access to finance for farmers and agricultural enterprises, increasing private-sector investment and through policy dialogues at the national and county levels. We work towards a more competitive, vibrant, and inclusive agricultural market system, especially for women and youth. We support new ideas that improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers. We also expand access to finance for farmers, entrepreneurs, and businesses. We operate an innovative credit facility that works with local financial institutions to unlock capital, providing loans to under-served borrowers, such as rural farmers and small and medium-sized businesses.


Overview: Agriculture and Food Security

Feed the Future in Kenya

Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG)

Activity Fact Sheets

Accelerating Institutional And Food Systems Development (AIFSD)

Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS)

Kenya Livestock Market Systems (LMS)

Resilience Measurement of Market Systems in Kenya (RMS-Kenya)

Southeastern Kenya Coordination Mechanism (SEK)

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN)

Dominic and his wife have transformed their arid land in Makueni County into viable productive farmland using water-harvesting technology they learned from training supported by USAID and the World Food Program (WFP).

Share This Page no longer supports Internet Explorer.

To browse and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to  upgrade your browser .

Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link.

paper cover thumbnail


Profile image of GILBERT O MIGIRO

Food security is one of the indicators regarding the level of country's development and was named the first MDGs that to be reached by the 2015. The target is to eradicate the extreme poverty and hunger by half compared to the levels in 1990. As the deadline is approaching, it is interesting to look at how countries are dealing with reaching their targets. It was reported that on the global level the target is going to be achieved. However, some countries are not likely to reach their own goals and improve food security situation. Thus, it is interesting to see what are the challenges these countries face in scaling-down the level of hunger. Kenya, being one of the countries that are not likely to achieve its food security goal, was chosen to analyze as a case study. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the reasons why food insecurity is still present in Kenya, despite international commitments and government policies. The following four factors after the initial research were found to have the most immense influence on the issue: neoliberal trade regime, foreign food aid, domestic policies and climate change. The factors were analyzed employing theories or neoliberalism and dependency. It was found that trade liberalization agreements and financial ties with international financial institutions restricted Kenya from developing in an efficientway its food security policies. Furthermore, due to the extensive inflows of inexpensive food imports and always available foreign food aid, local farmers found themselves in a disadvantageous position compared to the foreign food producers and this led to discouragement of domestic food production. Therefore, the agricultural sector is currently declining in Kenya, even though it is of the prime importance regarding employment and Kenya GDP. After the adopted liberal trading regime, Kenya found itself involved in unequal and exploitative relations that restrict it from improving food security situation. Governmental programs were found to be inefficient because SAPs prevent government from subsidizing vulnerable sectors or efficiently funding food security policies. Climate change, the result of the unsustainable development of currently developed economies, as well impacts heavily, by draughts or floods, food security in Kenya. All things considered, food security situation in Kenya is mostly caused by the neoliberal trading regime and the dependency on the advanced economies imposed by the regime.

Related Papers

Third World Quarterly

Mindi Schneider , Philip McMichael

research on food security in kenya

Hunger in a Global Economy: Hunger 1998

Renee Marlin-Bennett

Theological studies

John Sniegocki

Pamela Cunneyworth

Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems

Dvera Saxton

The Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs

Renad Mansour

In an age of global uncertainty, allies and enemies must be scrutinized, and we must question why we choose to be in conflict. Iran, as it pursues a nuclear weapon as a security guarantee, is perhaps the most important case to re-examine.This paper argues that the United States should not only prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, it should try to make Iran an American ally.

Olivier Jutel

Makana Osano Fred

The Deadly Ideas of Neoliberalism: How the IMF has Undermined Public Health and the Fight against AIDS (London: Zed Books, 2009).

Rick Rowden

Loading Preview

Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can download the paper by clicking the button above.


Nadia Lambek , Priscilla Claeys

Eric Holt-Gimenez

Islam, M. S. and Iris Carla D. Jesus. 2012. “Regional Initiates on Food Security: The Case of Southeast Asia.” Pp. 255-270 in The Challenge of Food Security, edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Wiesfelt. Edward Elgar Publishers Ltd.

Md Saidul Islam

Nathalie Fytrou

Stephanie Christofferson

Hannah Wittmeyer

Josh Brem-Wilson

Fetsum Berhane

Kenton Lobe

Philipp Aerni

Annette Desmarais

Monografía de Grado en "Language and International Studies" (The College of Saint Scholastica, Minnesota, EEUU)

Lorena Rodriguez Lezica

Shamsa Birik

Theodoros Birmpoutsoukis

Matias E Margulis

Clemens Breisinger , Olivier Ecker , Perrihan Al-riffai

Matt Sparke

Maria Alayón

Tugrul Temel

Agriculture and Human Values

Philip McMichael

Merei Ligteringen

Jasmin Marston

Anika Mahla

Andrea Sellinger

Christopher Huggins

Carmen Gonzalez

Patta Scott-Villiers , Nick Chisholm

James Bill Ouda , Gordon Nguka

Naomi Hossain

Hilal Elver

Opeoluwa Badaru

Greg de St. Maurice

Patta Scott-Villiers , Nick Chisholm , Naomi Hossain

Health Policy and Planning

Anelyse Weiler , C. Hergesheimer , Ben Brisbois


Food Security as a Driver of Sustainable Peace: The Case of Kenya

Food Security as a Driver of Sustainable Peace:  The Case of Kenya Publication Cover

One-fifth of Africa’s population suffers from severe food insecurity: a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Kenya is among the worst affected countries in Africa; projections indicate that the crisis is likely to worsen. Kenya’s undernourishment rate has been rising, and malnutrition is the single most important contributor to child mortality. Kenya’s food security crisis is at odds with the historical significance of agriculture to the nation. The potential impact of food insecurity on human rights, public safety, and peace are significant. 

In this paired paper and policy brief, Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding scholar Florence Odiwuor  focuses on the root causes behind the current crisis in Kenya’s food system and speculates on possible consequences for peacebuilding. She also provides policy recommendations for entities including the African Union, United Nations, the Government of Kenya, civil society, food system actors, and peacebuilding organizations in effort to implement initiatives to enhance food security and the stability of the country.

Documents and Downloads

About the Author

Florence odiwuor, africa program.

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our Africa Up Close blog, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.     Read more

Explore More

A young African lady working on a farm

Famine Early Warning Systems Network

facebook icon


Kenya flag

East Africa

Widespread crisis (ipc phase 3) outcomes following third consecutive below-average season.

Email logo

February - May 2022

research on food security in kenya

June - September 2022

research on food security in kenya

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Key messages.

The effects of a third consecutive below-average rainy season are resulting in deteriorating food security outcomes driven by the impacts of poor crop and livestock production, resource-based conflict, livestock disease and mortality, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2022, the KFSSG's annual Short Rains Assessment reported that there are around 3.1 million food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, a 48 percent increase since August 2021. Following the scale-up of the Emergency Hunger Safety Net Programme in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera, at least one in four households are receiving 5,400 KES every two months, along with humanitarian assistance, which is driving Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes. Other pastoral areas remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with the decline in rangeland resources and the poor short rains harvest limiting household access to income and food. Area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are also emerging in parts of Samburu, Baringo, Meru North, and Kitui due to the poor short rains harvest and declining rangeland resources. 

Crop production was significantly affected by late-onset, poor temporal distribution, and cumulatively below-average rainfall during the October to December short rains, resulting in a significantly below-average harvest. According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), the maize harvest in the marginal agricultural areas is 45-50 percent of the five-year national maize production average. There was widespread below-average crop production in the marginal agricultural areas, with crop failure in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tharaka Nithi, where maize production was 1–7 percent of the five-year average. In the marginal agricultural areas, most poor households have one to two months of food stocks, compared to a typical two to four months before household food stocks are depleted. 

In the pastoral areas, declining forage and water resources have kept livestock in dry season grazing areas and continuing to migrate in search of pasture and water, resulting in conflict among communities over rangeland resources. Due to starvation, disease, and long trekking distances, declining livestock health has resulted in widespread livestock deaths in pastoral counties. In Marsabit, up to 9 percent of livestock herds are estimated to have died due to the drought. The loss of livestock, below-average milk production, and declining goat-to-maize terms-of-trade across the northern and eastern pastoral areas are resulting in households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity outcomes. With around 11 percent of the 2021 Kenya Drought Appeal funded, further assistance is likely needed to save pastoral livelihoods during the forecast below-average 2022 March-May long rains.   


research on food security in kenya

Current food security outcomes, February 2022

research on food security in kenya

Estimated 2021 short rains maize production in Kenya compared to the five-year average

research on food security in kenya

eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Percent of the 2003-2017 Median, February 21-28, 2022

research on food security in kenya

Status of monitored water points, February 28, 2022

research on food security in kenya

Goat-to-maize terms-of-trade percent change from 2017-2021 average, January 2022

Current Situation

The below-average 2021 October to December short rains marked the third consecutive below-average rainfall season, driving significant negative impacts in both the marginal agricultural and pastoral areas. In late January to early February, findings from the Kenya Food Security Steering Group's (KFSSG) annual Short Rains Assessment indicate that the number of food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas has risen from 2.1 million in August 2021 to 3.1 million in February 2022, driven by the impacts of poor crop and livestock production, resource-based conflict, livestock disease, and  mortality, effects of consecutive poor seasons, and rising costs of inputs due to the COVID-19 control measures on cross-border trade.

Crop and livestock production: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the national maize production for the 2021 long and short rains was 2.98 and 0.26 million metric tonnes (MMT), around 88 and 47 percent of the five-year average, respectively.

The October to December short rains are the main production season in the marginal agricultural areas, accounting for 70 percent of annual production. Households typically plant maize, beans, green grams, cowpeas, sorghum, and millet. In February 2022, apart from near-average potato production in Nyeri, the short rains crop production in the marginal agricultural areas for all rainfed crops planted was significantly below average, ranging from 35 to 87 percent below the five-year average (Figure 1). In particular, the maize crop in marginal agricultural areas was significantly below-average, ranging from 43 to 80 percent below the five-year average. Widespread maize crop failure was reported in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tharaka Nithi, where county maize production was 1 – 7 percent of the five-year average. The below-average harvest was due to households planting less land in anticipation of the below-average rainfall, lower seed stocks, and below-average rainfall throughout the short rains season. In February 2022, available maize stocks are 57 percent of the five-year average in the southeast marginal areas and are expected to last for one to two months compared to the normal two to four months. In the coastal marginal areas, household maize stocks are 2 percent of the five-year average and are expected to last one month compared to three to six months normally.

Following heavy rainfall events in late December 2021, proxy-satellite data from the Normalized Differentiated Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicate that vegetation greenness has improved to above 140 percent of the median in the central parts of Turkana and the northwestern and southern parts of Marsabit (Figure 2). However, below-average vegetation greenness is present across most pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, with less than 60 percent of the median NDVI in the Southeastern and Coastal Marginal Mixed Farming Zones and the Northeastern, Eastern, and Southeastern Pastoral Zones. In the southeastern marginal agricultural areas, heavy rainfall in late December arrived too late for crops to recover, but it has supported household livestock holdings which are relatively lower than pastoral households. However, in pastoral areas, the rainfall in late December drove a slight recovery of forage and water resources in January, maintaining intra-county livestock migration temporarily before rangeland resources declined in February.

According to sentinel site data from National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and field observations during the KFSSG SRA, livestock body conditions for all species across the pastoral areas except camels are below average. Livestock body conditions range from "very poor to poor" in Marsabit, Isiolo, and Mandera, while they are "fair to poor" across the rest of the counties. Camel body conditions are mostly "good" and within the average range. The below-average body conditions in pastoral areas are being driven by sustained below-average access to pasture, forage, and water and above-average trekking distances.

Livestock return trekking distances from grazing areas to water sources are almost double the normal distances across most pastoral counties as forage and water resources continue to decline. Trekking distances range from 8 – 35 km compared to a three-year average of 4 – 12 km, apart from Tana River County, where trekking distances are within the average range of 2 – 7 km. The increasing return trekking distances continue to drive atypical migration across the pastoral areas. Livestock herders  have moved to dry-season grazing areas within their respective counties and neighboring and other counties, and further crossing borders to neighboring countries like Uganda, Somalia, and Ethiopia, which is not typical for this time of the year.

Upwards of 70 percent of livestock are estimated to have migrated, particularly out of Isiolo, Marsabit, and Turkana counties. Resource-based conflicts are occurring in the grazing areas as the different herders and communities congregate. However, the most significant conflicts have been caused by the in-migration of livestock herders into private property such as ranches and farms in the marginal agricultural areas like Laikipia, Nyandarua, Meru, Lamu, Kilifi, and Taita Taveta counties, where skirmishes have destroyed crops, property, and human fatalities.

In January 2022, daily household milk production remains 12-50 percent below the three-year average, ranging from 0.5 – 1 liter per household per day compared to an average of 2 – 5 liters per household per day. In Turkana and parts of Marsabit, households reported no milk being produced due to poor livestock body conditions impacting productivity. However, in Tana River, milk production was 20 percent above-average at 3 liters per household per day compared to the average of 2.5 liters per household per day driven by better livestock body conditions following improvements in water and pasture resources. Relatedly, birth rates among sheep, goat, and cattle during the 2021 October to December short rains season were reported by field informants as below normal across pastoral areas due to the negative impact of the below-average 2021 March to May long rains season, which reduced conception rates and the following drought which weakened their body conditions across all livelihood zones. A high number of cattle, sheep, and goat abortions have been reported along with the death of most newborns as their mothers are not healthy enough to sustain the pregnancies and cannot produce enough milk to sustain them. For the offspring born, a large proportion died due to starvation or were killed by the livestock owners to protect the mothers from more stress.

Despite weakened livestock body conditions and widespread migration, there were no livestock disease outbreaks, only reports of incidences of endemic diseases like Contagious Caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), Black Quarter and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), which did not cause significant fatalities. However, many livestock deaths were reported from October to December due to starvation caused by the drought, with around 6-10 percent of livestock herds estimated to have died due to the drought in Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera.

Domestic water access: Water for household consumption is declining as return trekking distances increase and water sources continue to decline. Household trekking distances in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas range from 1-8 km compared to 1-5 km normally in Turkana, Tana River, and Isiolo, where distances are relatively lower due to the availability of groundwater sources, piped water supply, and the River Tana which flows year-round. Across the rest of the pastoral and marginal agricultural areas, return trekking distances are 5-15 km compared to a normal of 1-10 km as water pans, and shallow wells have dried up, forcing households to trek further to access water for consumption. According to the USGS Water Point Viewer , water availability is below-average across most monitored water points in northern and eastern Kenya (Figure 3). However, in Turkana, most water points are around the median depth for February. The above-average trekking distances for water continue to strain households' ability to engage in other important livelihood activities due to the increased time spent fetching water.  

Markets and trade: Given the current maize deficit of about 300,000 MT driven by below-average production over 2021, the government is likely to authorize the importation of maize from eastern and southern Africa, which will likely erase the deficit. However, given the recent conflict in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, there is the potential for disruption to global cereal and fertilizer exports from both Ukraine and Russia. The likely magnitude of these disruptions is still being analyzed as events in Ukraine unfold. Kenya typically imports GMO maize from Ukraine for livestock feed.  Kenya also typically imports maize from South Africa.

In the urban reference markets, wholesale maize prices in January ranged from 3,177 – 4,050 KES per 90-kg bag and were on an increasing trend driven by sustained demand. Prices are 7 – 10 percent above the five-year averages in Kisumu and Nairobi due to high demand and relatively low local supply. However, maize prices are 61 percent above the average in Eldoret as farmers hold their stocks in anticipation of better prices. In the marginal agricultural areas, retail maize prices in January ranged from 40 – 45 KES per kg. Maize prices are within to below the average in Makueni, Nyeri (Kieni), and Kilifi due to available harvests, but 9 – 19 percent above the five-year averages across the rest of the monitored markets due to high demand driven by below-average harvests and low household stocks. Across the pastoral areas, maize prices range from 55 – 88 KES. Compared to December, prices are mostly stable due to incoming supplies from source markets as harvests became available. However, maize prices are 9 – 21 percent above the five-year averages across most pastoral markets due to high local demand for both human and livestock consumption and low supplies from source markets. 

Wholesale bean prices in the urban markets range from 5,820 – 11,196 KES per 90-kg bag and are exhibiting stable to decreasing trends. The wholesale bean prices are 12 – 31 percent above the five-year averages except in Eldoret, where prices are 30 percent below average due to available local harvests. Retail bean prices range from 88 – 114 KES in the marginal agricultural areas, and trends are mostly stable to decreasing due to the availability of the ongoing harvests. However, retail bean prices remain 6 – 23 percent above average due to low household stocks and high demand.

Goat prices remain mixed across the agropastoral and pastoral markets. In Isiolo and Baringo, goat prices are within the five-year averages, but goat prices are 11 – 36 percent below the five-year average in Nyeri, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Mandera, and Turkana driven by declining livestock body conditions and increased market supply. Across the rest of the monitored markets, goat prices are 6 – 26 percent above average, but prices are on a declining trend as rangeland resources diminish, driving worsening body conditions and increased market supply as herders try to maximize income from weakening livestock. Following the high staple food prices and below-average livestock prices across the pastoral and agropastoral markets, the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are below average, ranging from 7-44 percent below the five-year average except in Samburu, where the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are within average (Figure 4). However, in the southern pastoral zone (Kajiado and Narok counties), the goat-to-maize terms-of-trade are 12-26 percent above average, supported by available pasture and water.

COVID-19: As of February 19, 2022, Kenya has a seven-day rolling average of 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, with a testing positivity rate of 0.4 percent. According to the Ministry of Health, around 8.51 million Kenyans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19, with around 26 percent of adults fully vaccinated. There has been an increase in the administration of vaccines following a two-week campaign in February. With the declining positivity rate, likely, only the most critical COVID-19 related -restrictions (requirement of a negative COVID-19 test at borders) will persist through the end of June.  

Interannual and emergency food assistance: In Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, and Mandera counties, approximately 101,000 food-insecure households continue to receive bi-monthly cash transfers sufficient to meet up to 12 days of monthly kilocalorie needs through NDMA's Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP). An additional 95,000 households in these counties are also receiving cash transfers through the HSNP Emergency Scale-Up triggered by a severe vegetation index. A Flash Appeal was launched in September for around 139 million USD, of which around 11 percent is funded. If fully funded, an estimated 1.3 million people are expected to be targeted with humanitarian assistance in 20 arid and semi-arid areas, excluding Embu, Narok, and Nyeri, which have less severe drought risk. The Kenya Humanitarian Partnerships Team is engaging with the NDMA to ensure that the humanitarian response complements the government's planned response. In October 2021, due to funding shortfalls, WFP reduced food rations from 60 percent to 52 percent of the daily 2100 kilocalorie equivalent full ration for 440,000 refugees in Kenya. The rations, which are currently sufficient to meet up to 16 days of monthly kilocalorie needs, are expected to continue through at least June 2022. However, a pipeline break is likely if WFP cannot secure funds to support the refugee programme beyond June 2022. 

Current food security outcomes

Urban areas outcomes : The impacts of COVID-19 control measures remain the main driver of food insecurity for urban poor households despite gradual improvements in the economy. The scale down and shut down of key economic sectors such as hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, and transport have affected both casual skilled and unskilled labor opportunities, reducing the number of days and frequency of work significantly reducing household income. In October 2021, telephone survey data from a multi-stakeholder urban food insecurity assessment in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu indicated that livelihood and food consumption indictors such as the food consumption score (FCS), reduced coping strategy index (rCSI), household hunger sore (HHS), and livelihood coping strategies were indicative that at least one in five poor households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to below-average access to income and below-average purchasing power. Given the continued high price of commodities and food, it is likely that poor urban households continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

Marginal agricultural area outcomes: Following the third consecutive below-average rainfall season, crop production is significantly below average across most marginal agricultural counties, reducing household food availability and income from crop sales. Households in marginal agricultural areas are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes as household food access declines and households increasingly engage in consumption-based coping strategies like reducing meal frequency and food portions, eating less preferred foods, and sending household members to eat elsewhere. Following the poor harvest, household food consumption is currently stable, but food stocks are expected to last one to two months compared to the typical two to six months. However, at least one in five households in most marginal agricultural areas are engaging in livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2), such as borrowing money and selling productive assets or means of transport to earn income. However, at least 20 percent of households in Kwale, Makueni, and Meru North are engaging in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) like reducing health expenses, harvesting immature crops, and consuming seed stocks.  

Pastoral area outcomes: The below-average short rains are driving reduced livestock productivity and milk production, impacting household food consumption. High migration levels driven by below-average forage and water conditions have resulted in significantly below-average household milk availability and access. Goat-to-maize terms-of-trade, a proxy for household purchasing power, is below average across most pastoral areas due to high staple food prices and low goat prices. In January 2022, outcome indicator data collected at NDMA sentinel sites indicates that at least one in five pastoral households reported an FCS of borderline or worse, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across all pastoral areas due to below-average food and milk consumption. However, food consumption trends from November to January were mixed, with slightly increased milk consumption following slight improvements in pasture following late rains in December, but household food access is declining due to limited household income. At least 20 percent of households are also applying livelihood coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), such as reducing healthcare expenses and withdrawing children from school. However, households in Baringo and West Pokot counties are engaging in livelihood coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1), respectively. In February 2022, SMART nutrition surveys in the northern and eastern pastoral areas reported that the prevalence of acute malnutrition as measured by weight-for-height score (GAM WHZ) was Critical (GAM WHZ 15-29.9 percent), with Serious (GAM WHZ 10-14.9 percent) acute malnutrition in Tana River. Since January, the prevalence of acute malnutrition for children under the age of five has been increasing across all counties as household food access deteriorates. Across northern and eastern pastoral livelihood zones, households are reporting below-average access to food and milk with increasing reports of continued deterioration in livestock body conditions and livestock deaths, reducing the value of their main livelihood and depleting valuable assets. In particular, area-level Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes would be likely in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera in the absence of HSNP, emergency HSNP, and current humanitarian assistance. However, in Garissa, Samburu, Tana River, and parts of Baringo and Laikipia counties, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present. 


The February to September 2022 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

In the urban areas, the projected economic recovery will gradually occur in 2022 and provide relatively more income-earning opportunities. However, income-earning opportunities will likely still be below pre-COVID-19 levels. The presence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, and other possible emerging variants, will likely continue resulting in more confirmed cases. Associated health impacts such as poor health, missed workdays, associated costs for treatment, and loss of income will be experienced, with the likely maintenance of current COVID-19 containment measures through at least May 2022. High petroleum and electricity prices are likely to increase the costs of food and non-food commodities. The below-average March to May long rains will reduce crop harvests and increase staple food prices from mid-to late-March, further reducing household food access. Urban poor households are likely to remain in debt to money lenders due to sending remittances to rural households. Political activity will increase as the August general elections approach, and related activities such as meetings and rallies disrupt economic activities reducing household income. The increased vaccination rates will likely mitigate any significant spikes in COVID-19 infection numbers despite increased gatherings. High demand for staple food commodities caused by low supplies and the ongoing drought will likely maintain staple food prices at above-average levels forcing at least 20 percent of households in the informal urban settlements to continually apply consumption-based coping strategies and livelihood coping strategies such as asset stripping and continued dependence on credit facilities indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3). A small proportion of the worse-off households, having exhausted their coping and having no savings to use, no assets to sell, and limited options to borrow money or food, might be forced to engage in illicit trades indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

In marginal agricultural areas, households will be temporarily food secure as the below-average short rains harvests become available; however, this will be short-lived as the harvest is below average. Households are unlikely to sell the harvest for income, resulting in a significant income deficit. Household food stocks are low and likely to last through mid-March before depleting. Food access from markets is likely to be constrained by low-income as below-average cropping and harvesting activities and below-average crop sales force households to intensify non-agricultural income-earning opportunities. From early March, cropping activities for the March to May long rains will commence, but at likely below-average levels given the below-average forecast. A below-average March to May long rains will likely result in below-average crop acreage and wage labor opportunities through April. In May and July, the below-average short cycle and main crop harvests will improve household food availability temporarily. With below-average harvests expected, households will resort to intensifying other income sources such as non-agricultural casual labor, charcoal and firewood sales, and remittances along with consumption and livelihood-based coping strategies indicative of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes such as borrowing money/food from a formal lender, selling of household assets, and reducing non -food expenditures like healthcare. Extended periods of below-average food and income will result in below-average food access and food consumption, likely resulting in increasing malnutrition rates in children under five years of age. Households are expected to be able to meet their food needs but unable to meet their non-food needs and be Stressed (IPC Phase 2); however, in parts of Kitui and Meru (Meru North) counties, at least 20 percent of households will be unable to meet their basic food needs without engaging in unsustainable coping strategies and will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the scenario period.

In pastoral areas, below-average household milk availability is expected to persist as livestock herds remain away from homesteads. Income from livestock sales will also remain below average due to below-average livestock body conditions, and increased market supply lowers livestock prices. Rangeland resources will decline and drive livestock, including the remaining herds, to the dry season grazing areas and further search for forage and water resources, reducing livestock productivity and household milk access. In late March, the forecasted below-average March to May long rains are expected to drive short-term improvements in rangeland resources and livestock body conditions in April and May. Slight improvements to livestock body conditions and productivity will increase household access to food and income, improving food security at least through mid-June. However, from late June, livestock productivity and sale value are likely to decline, further reducing household income and forcing households to depend on non-livestock income sources like construction, petty trade, and charcoal and firewood sales, which are likely to be below average due to increased competition and a constrained economy driven by the drought, COVID-19, and high fuel prices. Households will begin to intensively apply coping strategies at the early onset of the lean season, including reducing the number of meals and portion sizes, sending children to eat elsewhere, withdrawing children from school, reducing expenditures on healthcare, selling more animals than usual, and sale of last female animals, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and worse outcomes. Food insecurity is set to increase through September, and livestock are likely to deteriorate in health. Already below-average herd sizes are expected to further decline due to livestock deaths if no interventions occur. Acute malnutrition rates are expected to be high but within typical Critical levels (GAM15-29.9 percent) throughout the entire scenario period in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana counties, North Horr and Laisamis sub-counties in Marsabit, and Tiaty Sub County in Baringo County. Through September 2022, at least one in five households will be unable to meet their minimum food needs with Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) area-level outcomes are expected to persist in Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera due to national safety nets and humanitarian assistance mitigating worse food insecurity outcomes. However, in Garissa, Samburu, Tana River, and parts of Baringo and Laikipia counties, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist with the most-affected households likely to face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.


Table 1. Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario. 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report. 

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here .

Region Contact Information

Email: [email protected]


High levels of acute food insecurity prevail following fifth consecutive below-average rainy season, humanitarian assistance provides some relief, but emergency (ipc phase 4) outcomes persist, quick links.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Women walking

A decade of rapid economic growth, the inclusion of food and nutrition security in the government’s ‘big four’ priorities, constitutional changes that devolve administrative responsibilities to county governments and the country’s openness to innovation offer opportunities for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger and improved nutrition in Kenya. However, even though the country has recently acquired lower-middle-income status, the increased wealth has not benefited all Kenyans equally. Over one third of the population still lives under the international poverty line and social, economic and gender disparities remain .

Access to adequate quantities of nutritious food remains a challenge for many , especially in arid and semi-arid regions which make up 80 percent of the country’s land area.  Factors include rapid population growth – at a rate of 2.9 percent a year – climate change, stagnating agricultural production and inefficient food systems. Food insecure families typically live in rural areas, are poor and depend on daily agricultural labour for income. Families headed by women are more likely to be food insecure than those headed by men. 

Malnutrition remains unacceptably high, with 29 percent of children in rural areas and 20 percent of those living in cities stunted . Significant vitamin and mineral deficiencies are a severe public health problem and some 1.5 million people living with HIV have their nutrition status undermined by their condition.

Agriculture remains the main economic driver but is very vulnerable to climate shocks . Unpredictable rainfall and recurring droughts contribute to the disruption of crops – 95 percent of which are rain-fed – and the erosion of soils. Inefficiencies in food systems –  the networks that are needed to produce and transform food, and ensure it reaches consumers – lead to high prices and insufficient market supplies , limiting the availability of, and access to, food. 

Kenya hosts 500,000 refugees, mainly in camps in remote, food-insecure counties . Unable to work or move freely, refugees are highly dependent on international assistance. Opportunities for fostering self-reliance are being promoted and may be expanded to larger refugee populations.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is accelerating its shift from the direct provision of food assistance and services in Kenya to the strengthening of national systems and capacities to deliver food and nutrition security.

WFP in Kenya

What the world food programme is doing in kenya, publications, regional drought response plan for the horn of africa: 2023.

Regional Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa: 2023

Rebuilding human capital amidst the pandemic - A global analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on school-aged children and youth

Rebuilding human capital amidst the pandemic - A global analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on school-aged children and youth

2022 – Economic Impact Assessment of World Food Program Expenditures in East Africa

2022 – Economic Impact Assessment of World Food Program Expenditures in East Africa

Eastern Africa, Supply Chain outcomes in the Food System: Evaluation

Eastern Africa, Supply Chain outcomes in the Food System: Evaluation

Knowledge Management Strategy, Regional Bureau Nairobi 2021-2023

Knowledge Management Strategy, Regional Bureau Nairobi 2021-2023

2022- R4 Rural Resilience Initiative Factsheet

2022- R4 Rural Resilience Initiative Factsheet

Kenya: Cash transfers bring relief — and goats — to drought-hit pastoralists

Story | 20 January 2023

Climate action: what's new and what's next in 2023

Story | 13 January 2023

Horn of Africa: extreme drought deepens hunger in a region beset by conflict

Story | 17 November 2022

COP27: Solar pump helps green parched northeastern Kenya

Story | 7 November 2022

Kenya counts the beans to help avert food waste in school meals

Story | 28 September 2022

Global food crisis: Cash offers hope as people feel the heat

Story | 13 September 2022

Kenya news releases

Partners and donors.

For questions or feedback on WFP’s assistance:

Find out more about the state of food security in Kenya

Operations in kenya.

Kenya Country Strategic Plan (2018 - 2023)

United Nations Complex, Gigiri P.O. Box 44482 – 00100 Nairobi Kenya

Advanced search

Bowie State University Logo

 Department of Natural Sciences

Food Security Research in Kenya, Africa

Nsf: bowie state university global experience in research for undergraduates in food security at egerton university kenya, africa.  .

Anne Osano, PhD; PI, Associate Professor of Biology, Natural Sciences Department, Bowie State University

The Global Research Experience in Kenya, Africa focuses on the genetic, physiological, and ecological mechanisms that underlie crop responses in a changing environment with a goal towards food security. Students are mentored by world class research scientist and mentors who not only guide them in research but also train them in professional skills development, literature review, experimental techniques and design, data collection and analysis. The international research experience is being flanked by a rich cultural and social program which is expected to be transformative as it produces globally engaged citizens.

Captcha Page

We apologize for the inconvenience...

To ensure we keep this website safe, please can you confirm you are a human by ticking the box below.

If you are unable to complete the above request please contact us using the below link, providing a screenshot of your experience.

Please solve this CAPTCHA to request unblock to the website


  1. Transform Kenya Forum on food security, safety and innovation in times of COVID-19

    research on food security in kenya

  2. Kenya' s Food Security

    research on food security in kenya

  3. (PDF) The role of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) in the attainment of

    research on food security in kenya

  4. CFAES food safety center to research food safety in Kenya

    research on food security in kenya

  5. Food security under threat in Kenya

    research on food security in kenya

  6. Food Security for Kenya

    research on food security in kenya


  1. Why is food security important?

  2. PadiU Putra UPM

  3. Food fraud tops the agenda at the Africa Food Safety Workshop



  6. ANH2021: Food environments: Urban and rural


  1. 10 Fascinating Facts About Kenya

    Located right along the equator in East Africa is one of the continent’s better-known countries: Kenya. The beautiful country is a popular travel destination. Here are some fascinating facts to learn about Kenya, Africa before heading there...

  2. What Are the Natural Resources of Kenya?

    Kenya’s main natural resources include fisheries, water, forests, wetlands, biodiversity and a variety of minerals. These minerals include limestone, gemstones, salt, zinc, gypsum, diatomite, limestone and others.

  3. What Kind of Fruit Is Grown in Kenya?

    Kenya grows plums, pears, apples, grapes, oranges, lemons, tangerines, bananas, loquat, dates, pawpaws, pineapple, avocados, peaches, apricots and passion fruit. Most fruit is grown in the Highlands region. Due to investments by foreign ent...

  4. Kenya Food Security Outlook Update August 2022

    Across Kenya, acute food insecurity remains elevated due to the impacts of drought on multiple below-average crop and livestock production

  5. Kenya: IPC Acute Food Insecurity and Acute Malnutrition Analysis

    Analysis in English on Kenya about Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Drought and more; published on 28 Sep 2022 by IPC.

  6. Agriculture, Food and Water Security

    USAID is working with the Government and people of Kenya to lay the foundation for inclusive, market-driven economic growth, in line with Kenya's Vision

  7. (PDF) The Issue of Food Security in Kenya

    The following four factors after the initial research were found to have the most immense influence on the issue: neoliberal trade regime, foreign food aid

  8. food insecurity, a case study of kenya

    Food security is one of the indicators regarding the level of country's development and was named the first MDGs that to be reached by the 2015.


    food for the poorer sections of the population leading to food insecurity in many households.

  10. Food Security as a Driver of Sustainable Peace: The Case of Kenya

    The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses

  11. Kenya

    According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG), the maize harvest in the marginal agricultural areas is 45-50 percent of the five-year national

  12. Kenya

    A decade of rapid economic growth, the inclusion of food and nutrition security in the government's 'big four' priorities, constitutional changes that

  13. Food Security Research in Kenya, Africa

    The Global Research Experience in Kenya, Africa focuses on the genetic, physiological, and ecological mechanisms that underlie crop responses in a changing

  14. Shocks, socio-economic status, and food security across Kenya

    Most studies are based on case studies (e.g. Ulrich et al 2012, Mutea et al 2019) of food security making it difficult to gain an overview of