Climate risk profile: climate risks in food for peace geographies - Kenya

Northern Kenya’s arid and semiarid lands (ASALs) are food- and water-insecure regions dependent on limited and highly variable rainfall. Rising temperatures, heat waves, changes in seasonal rainfall and extreme rainfall events intensify risks to livestock and crop production, and to human health through heat and water stress, disease, damage to crop and grazing lands and diminished water quality. The recurrent drought events of recent years have affected millions, increasing food insecurity and reliance on emergency food aid among the region’s pastoralists and agropastoralists. Floods caused by heavy rainfall, such as those in 2018, have also led to extensive displacement, loss of livestock and crops and periodic health impacts such as cholera outbreaks. Years of agricultural losses, combined with limited livelihood alternatives and market engagement have forced more Kenyans to rely on the purchase of staple foods, increasing vulnerability to regional and global food price fluctuations. Rapid population growth, insecure tenure systems, the privatization of land and water sources, and intercommunity conflict further constrain adaptive capacity in the region. As the combination of climate and non-climate impacts continue to increase, they exacerbate tensions over already limited land and water resources and augment the social consequences of climate variability. While poverty rates are falling nationally, they remain above 80 percent in the arid north. Poor households’ repeated exposure to drought and other weather-related shocks, depletion of assets, and continuing ecological decline leave them less able to cope with shocks and stresses.

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