Future of the Environment

Kenya is set to suffer from worsening food shortages and water scarcity 

A Turkana man herds livestock back from grazing grounds at the end of the day in the disputed area of the Ilemi triangle in northwestern Kenya near the borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan October 14, 2013. The Turkana are traditionally nomadic pastoralists, but they have seen the pasture that they need to feed their herds suffer from recurring droughts and many have turned to fishing. However, Lake Turkana is overfished, and scarcity of food and pastureland is fuelling long-standing conflict with Ethiopian indigenous Dhaasanac, who have seen grazing grounds squeezed by large-scale government agricultural schemes in southern Ethiopia. The Dhaasanac now venture ever deeper into Kenyan territory in search of fish and grass, clashing with neighbours. Fighting between the communities has a long history, but the conflict has become ever more fatal as automatic weapons from other regional conflicts seep into the area. While the Turkana region is short of basics like grass and ground-water, it contains other resources including oil reserves and massive, newly discovered underground aquifers. Picture taken October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola  (KENYA - Tags: AGRICULTURE CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY POLITICS)ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 20 OF 38 FOR PACKAGE 'FISHING AND FIREARMS ON LAKE TURKANA' TO FIND ALL IMAGES SEARCH 'TURKANA MODOLA' - LM2E9BS1EH201

The long rains season from March to May has fallen far below the long-term average for the period in Kenya. Image: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

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Future of the Environment

Nairobi, April 16 (Reuters) - Kenya is likely to suffer from worsening food shortages and water scarcity as the rainy season fails, its meteorological department said on Tuesday.

The so-called long rains season from March to May has fallen far below the long-term average for the period, Stella Aura, director of the Kenya Meteorological Department, said in a statement.

"Based on the current conditions and the projected weather conditions, dry conditions are expected to dominate most parts of the country, leading to further deterioration of food security and water resource," she said.

"Areas affected by the drought conditions will require interventions to support livelihoods."

Patrick Njoroge, the central bank governor, said the bank could lower its economic growth forecast for this year to 5.3 percent, from 6.3 percent, if the drought proves severe, the bank said on its Twitter account, quoting an interview he gave to Bloomberg TV in New York on Tuesday.

Blaming the recent dry weather, the World Bank has trimmed its forecast for Kenya's economic growth to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent.

Farming, including tea, flowers and coffee exports account for close to a third of annual economic output.

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The government said last month 1.1 million Kenyans, mainly in the arid counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River and Garisssa, need humanitarian food assistance.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, blames the failure of Kenya's long rains on tropical cyclone Idai, which redirected moisture away from the region.

Hundreds of thousands of people still need aid after Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March.

More than 1,000 people have been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit.

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Future of the EnvironmentAfricaAgriculture, Food and BeverageClimate Crisis
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