In 2008, an estimated 1.3 million people in rural areas and 3.5 – 4 million in urban areas were food insecure. An estimated 150,000 persons residing predominantly in high-potential areas of the Rift Valley province were extremely food insecure following the post-election crisis (FEWS NET 2009). Approximately 100,000 more children have become malnourished as a result of the food crisis (Save the Children 2009).

Failed short rains in 2008 and previous three to four agricultural seasons has contributed to exacerbating food insecurity in the country. Marginal agricultural households, agro-pastoralists, pastoralists, and urban poor have been particularly affected. The marginal agricultural households in the southeastern and coastal lowlands are worst-hit as 70 percent of their annual harvest is derived from short-rains seasons (FEWS NET 2009). High food prices have also made 75 percent of the pastoralist communities food poor due to dramatic increase in cereal prices ranging from 50 – 80 percent as compared to other commodity prices. Amongst urban households, 40 percent were highly food insecure. As a result of the crisis, there has been an increase in school dropout rate, food riot incidents, and crime rate (WFP 2008).

Many factors have contributed to the rise in local food prices. Kenya relies heavily on maize imports from South Africa, Italy, USA, and the COMESA region, which have been severely affected by high food prices. Moreover, overall inflation in the country was high as 32 percent in 2008. High fuel prices have created additional pressures on food and non-food prices, despite stagnant wage rates (WFP 2008). As a result, rice prices have increased by 165 percent, wheat 88 percent, soybean 85 percent, and maize by 59 percent since early 2007.

The government and other international organizations have introduced several immediate and resilience measures to respond to the crisis. Import duties on maize imports have been removed, and any maize exports have been banned. Sales tax on rice and bread have been taken off. Fertilizer prices have been reduced by the National Cereals and Produce Board. Wheat import tax has been reduced from 35 to 10 percent, and any exports of maize have been banned (WFP 2009). Moreover, hot lunches and fortified nutritious porridge is provided to about 60,000 school and pres – school children (WFP 2008).

Agricultural Production
Agricultural Production2011201220132014
Rice Production
FAO 2014
111,229 MT138,204 MT125,256 MT112,263 MT
Wheat Production
FAO 2012
268,482 MT441,944 MT449,641 MT328,637 MT
Maize Production
FAO 2012
3,376,862 MT3,749,880 MT3,592,688 MT3,513,171 MT
Soybean Production
FAO 2013
2,181 MT2,866 MT2,804 MT2,550 MT
Agricultural Exports
Agricultural Exports2010201120122013
Rice Exports
FAO 2013
1,612 MT7,342 MT13,917 MT1,745 MT
Wheat Exports
FAO 2012
4,066 MT3,084 MT7,884 MT10,224 MT
Maize Exports
FAO 2013
10,850 MT10,850 MT1,479 MT4,972 MT
Soybean Exports
FAO 2012
87.00 MT87.00 MT173.00 MT145.00 MT
Agricultural Imports
Agricultural Imports2010201120122013
Rice Imports
FAO 2013
282,314 MT358,031 MT483,498 MT412,411 MT
Wheat Imports
FAO 2012
844,559 MT1,467,709 MT1,038,000 MT1,043,600 MT
Maize Imports
FAO 2010
229,596 MT258,525 MT236,000 MT93,473 MT
Soybean Imports
FAO 2013
15,778 MT5,613 MT1,926 MT6,346 MT