Harvesting of the 1999/2000 secondary "short
rains" cereal crop, accounting for some 20 percent of annual production,
is underway. Despite recent heavy rains that improved crop conditions somewhat,
a below-average output is anticipated. Late and insufficient rains resulted
in reduction in planting and negatively affected yields. Current estimates
put the short rains maize crop at 315 000 tonnes, compared with the previous
five year average of about 410 000 tonnes.
The output of the main "long rains" cereal crop, harvested until last October, was significantly reduced, particularly in Eastern, Central, Western and Nyanza Provinces due to drought, inadequate input supply and armyworm infestation in parts. Official estimates indicate maize output of about 2.1 million tonnes compared to 2.44 million tonnes in 1998 and 2.5 million tonnes average over the previous five years.
The food supply situation is critical in the northern, eastern and north-eastern pastoral districts, particularly in Turkana District, where erratic and insufficient rainfall has caused successive crop failures and were insufficient for adequate pasture and water supplies. An Emergency Operation was jointly approved in January 2000 by FAO and WFP for food assistance to 2.74 million drought affected people, worth US$ 43.4 million for a period of five months. The Government has also appealed in February for about US$62 million to combat the looming food shortage.