Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Kenya

January 4, 2017

Food Security Situation

Map of Kenya
CIA World Factbook
  • Below average March-to-May long rains and a slow, erratic start and continued poor performance of the October-to-December short rains has resulted in deteriorating food security and nutrition conditions in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The Kenya Food Security Steering Group reports that an estimated that 1.3 million people are acutely food insecure, over twice as many in need of immediate assistance compared to February 2016. Most households in parts of Kenya’s southeastern and northern pastoral areas, as well as coastal areas and Tana River County, will experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity through May 2017. The poor short rains may also result in poor pasture and rangeland regeneration, poor livestock body conditions, reduced milk availability, reduced households incomes and deteriorating nutrition conditions through April 2017. Nutrition reports indicate global acute malnutrition levels above the 15 percent emergency threshold in many counties, with the worst affected including Baringo, Garissa, Kalifi, Mandera, Marasabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot.

  • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kenya hosts nearly 500,000 refugees, most of whom are from Somalia. In May 2016, the Government of Kenya (GoK) announced that it would close Kenya’s largest refugee camp complex, Dadaab, by November 30, 2016. The GoK has since extended the camp’s closure deadline to May 2017, but the situation continues to present significant challenges. 

Food Assistance Programs

  • The 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, including refugee populations in the camps. In the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), FFP supports food-insecure Kenyans by providing cash or food in exchange for work on improving community infrastructure, such as rehabilitating local roads or irrigation systems. With an overall, improved food security situation in many parts of Kenya, WFP has begun handing over its general food distributions to some county authorities—a process that is expected to continue and accelerate over the next several years. WFP is now focusing instead on asset creation activities that build capacity and resilience. FFP is also providing funding and in-kind Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods to UNICEF for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in the ASALs and among refugee populations in Kenya. 

  • FFP supports refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, and their host communities, through direct food distributions, mother and child health and nutrition, and supplementary and therapeutic nutritious foods.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2017 $42.5 million 45,920 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $63.8 million 51,150 MT
Fiscal Year 2015 $83.0 million 74,331 MT

Fiscal Year 2017 Contribution Breakdown:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Title II Development ---- ----
Title II Emergency $42.5 million 45,920 MT
Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP) ---- ----

Food Security Situation information is provided by FEWS NET and Refugee Information by UNHCR as of December 2016.

Last updated: January 04, 2017

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