Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Kenya

May of Kenya

June 12, 2019

Poverty, food insecurity, undernutrition, and income inequality remain high in Kenya, particularly in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).  The drought-prone nature of the ASALs has exacerbated vulnerabilities and has led to chronic emergency responses, driven by high food insecurity, and acute malnutrition rates.    


  • As many as 2 million people in Kenya will require food assistance by the end of July due to consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall, according to a Government of Kenya seasonal assessment.  Poor livestock conditions and below-average harvests are limiting food and income sources, driving populations into Crisis (IPC 3) and Stressed (IPC 2) levels of acute food insecurity.*  The worst affected areas include parts of Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River, Turkana, and Wajir counties.
  • The March-to-May long rains are below-average across the country, causing agricultural production to fall nearly 50 percent below average.  The high incidence of Fall Armyworm and farmers’ limited access to pesticides will also contribute to reduced agricultural production.  The demand for agricultural labor is expected to decrease significantly as a result, limiting income opportunities for poor households.  Among pastoralists, livestock body conditions are deteriorating, and milk production is decreasing, constraining access to food and income.  As herders follow atypical livestock migration patterns in search of water and pasture, resource-based conflict is expected to increase.  
  • Kenya hosts approximately 473,000 refugees, according to the UN.  As of March, Kenya hosted nearly 258,000 Somali and 115,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled conflict and food insecurity in their home countries.  Most refugees rely heavily on humanitarian assistance.

*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).


  • USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide relief and build resilience among the most vulnerable populations in Kenya’s ASAL counties.  Kenyans receive U.S. in-kind food aid or cash transfers in exchange for work on improving community assets, such as constructing water catchments. These activities promote resilience by improving chronically poor households’ abilities to adapt to drought, and strengthening and diversifying livelihoods.
  • WFP provides specialized nutrition products as a supplement for children under five years of age and pregnant and lactating women in areas with the highest levels of acute malnutrition.  FFP also enables the UN Children’s Fund UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide treatment for severe acute malnutrition in the ASALs and among refugees.
  • FFP supports refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps and in the Kalobeyei settlement, as well as host community members, through direct food distributions, education on maternal and child health, and livelihoods training.  FFP also supports WFP’s refugee operations by providing cash transfers and support for local procurement of specialized nutrition products.  

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2019 $27.0 million 16,116 MT
Fiscal Year 2018 $89.3 million 67,965 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $89.5 million 64,795 MT

Country Specific Guidance

Related Resources

Last updated: June 12, 2019

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