The country is set to experience one of its worst droughts characterised by worsening food shortages, water scarcity and piling pressure on electricity bills.
The dry weather currently witnessed in the long rains season from March to May will be the worst in 38 years, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The agency has warned that about 541,309 children under five in Kenya are at risk of malnutrition at the moment with the food shortage expected to get worse in the coming weeks.
“We should not be talking of whether it will rain or not because even if it rains now, the planting season has already passed and we should focus on dealing with the situation at hand,” said IGAD executive secretary Mahboub Maalim.
IGAD says the rains have already failed and even if it rains now, farmers will not make any meaningful return from their farms because the planting season is already over.
If the forecasted rainfall deficit comes to pass, it will make life even harder for Kenyans by triggering an increase in food insecurity and increase in livestock movement.
“Dry conditions and high temperatures between January and March have led to the deterioration of pasture and water availability affecting livestock body conditions and reduced milk production,” Igad says.
The harsh climatic conditions are likely to fuel conflict in border regions between Kenya and Uganda as competition for pasture resulting from movement is expected to increase.
Last month, the Kenyan government announced that 1.1 million Kenyans, mainly in the arid counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River and Garissa, were in urgent need for humanitarian food assistance.
As a result of the anticipated food shortages and inflation, the Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Patrick Njoroge, on Tuesday, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in New York, that the bank could lower its economic growth forecast for 2019 to 5.3 per cent from 6.3 per cent.
The World Bank has also trimmed its forecast for Kenya’s economic growth to 5.7 per cent from 5.8 per cent.