-- About 12.9 million people in Eastern
Africa are suffering from food insecurity, a new food
security study launched in Nairobi said on Friday.
The number was lower than 14.9
million who needed food assistance registered at the
end of last year.
According to the report published by
Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS Net), the
improved situation was mainly because of average to
above average harvests across many countries in east
African region in late 2012 and early 2013 and
favorable pastoral conditions.
Well above-normal rains have been
widespread since mid-March, marking the onset of the
March-to-May rainy seasons over northern and western
Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Lake Victoria
basin, western, southern, and northeastern Kenya,
southern and central Somalia, and eastern and
The study said planting of crops is
ongoing across much of the region and that favorable
germination has occurred in several areas.
The March-to-May rains are expected to
continue to be normal to well above normal over the
western and central sectors of the region, according
to forecast by the Inter-Governmental Authority on
Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application.
April is typically the peak month of
this rainfall season, and the rains are expected to
Rains were heavier than usual and in
areas earlier than usual in March in the eastern
sector of the region, according to FEWS Net.
However, food security experts have
warned of a looming food shortage in Kenya amid
heavy rains that have disrupted transport and
farming activities across East Africa.
Kenya Society for Agricultural
Professionals chairman Paul Mbuni has said that the
immediate impact of the flash floods would be an
increase in prices of agricultural produce.
He said the destruction of the
agricultural infrastructure such as roads and
bridges will reduce food supplies leading to food
insecurity towards the end of this year.
"If the current rains continue
with the same intensity for the next three weeks, we
expect food shortages and escalation of food prices
in the month of May and June this year," Mbuni
Mbuni said the East Africa nationís
agriculture which is the backbone of the economy is
predominantly rain-fed and hence very fragile and
prone to disruption by natural calamities and