FAO and Kenyan Government sign action plan to mitigate drought in ASALs Counties
15 July 2021
Livelihood conditions have declined as a result of reduced access to pasture even as 56% of the ASAL counties reported increased trekking distances to water sources for livestock and domestic use. This is expected to get worse in the coming months hence the need for urgent anticipatory action
15/07/2021 Nairobi - Kenya: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Devolution and the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) today signed the Anticipatory Action and Response Plan for Pastoral and Agropastoral Communities in ASAL Counties of Samburu, Isiolo, Turkana, Garissa, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Tana River.
This is in response to drought alert sent in June 2021 where 12 of the 23 ASAL counties were in the alert drought phase, while 16 reported a declining trend. This is an abnormal occurrence at the immediate end of the season.
‘Livelihood conditions have declined as a result of reduced access to pasture even as 56% of the ASAL counties reported increased trekking distances to water sources for livestock and domestic use. This is expected to get worse in the coming months hence the need for urgent anticipatory action,’ said Carla Mucavi - the FAOR Representative to Kenya during the signing.
‘The Government welcomes the support and collaboration of partners such as FAO in addressing this situation. This call for anticipatory action will go a long way in building the resilience of the communities in the affected Counties. Urgent action and a coordinated response is needed from donors and other concerned stakeholders before the situation deteriorates further,’ said the Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Devolution and the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) Hon. Eugene Wamalwa.
The ASAL situation since 2020
The 2020 Short Rains Assessment established that the season had performed poorly. As of February 2021, 1.4 million people in ASAL counties were already experiencing acute food insecurity. This was aggravated by other factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, the desert locust invasion, food commodity price spikes, and livestock diseases.
Since then, the long rains in March-May 2021 have also under-performed. The onset of the season was late, the amount of rainfall was below normal in most ASAL counties, and its distribution in both space and time was poor.
Current drought indicators
An estimated two million people in ASAL counties are now in need of assistance. This figure is likely to rise as the situation worsens. There is a severe deficit of vegetation in Isiolo county and in Lagdera sub-county of Garissa, while the rest of Garissa and Kilifi, Marsabit, Tana River, and Wajir counties report a moderate vegetation deficit.
The proportion of children at risk of malnutrition is already above average in seven ASAL counties (Embu, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Narok, Kjiado, Meru, Nyeri). In addition to that, families are now forced to cover longer distances to access water for domestic and livestock use as water sources have dried up.
Resources needed for drought mitigation
Kenya’s drought response plan requires a total of Kshs. 9.4 billion for the period July – November 2021: Kshs. 5.8 billion for food and safety net support and Kshs. 3.6 billion for non-food interventions.
FAO is seeking a total of USD 15,007,460 (Ksh 1,500,746,000 billion) to cushion livestock assets and vulnerable pastoral households against the adverse effects of the drought, to support water interventions for increased access to water for Livestock and domestic used to enhance access to food and nutrition. This includes basic needs by farming households and to strengthen the institutional and technical capacity of National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) for effective implementation of the early warning mechanism.