Livestock production in Somaliland is stabilized through farmer trainings

People walk among sheep and goats at the livestock market in Hargeisa, Somaliland, on August 18, 2018. (Photo by Eduardo Soteras / AFP) (Photo credit should read EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

FAO’s work through the Food and Nutrition Security Resilience Programme Building food system resilience in protracted crises (FNS-REPRO), is a project funded by the Government of the Netherlands that spans across Somaliland to Sudan and South Sudan over a period of two years. The overarching outcome is to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises. However, the programme is unique in its approach to the Humanitarian, Development and Peace building Nexus as this is the first programme in Eastern Africa specifically designed to foster peace and food security at scale through a multi-year livelihood and resilience-based approach. FAO Somalia is working with partners such as Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and FAO Resilience Team for Eastern Africa (RTEA) to extensively incorporate the Nexus strategies. Through strong intergovernmental and organizational partnerships, FNS-REPRO will invest in and build resilience and knowledge by working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Water Resources; Ministry of Environment and Rural Development; and Ministry of Livestock in Somaliland.

Recovering from conflict with access to innovation

In the lens of peace for development, this programme is primarily livelihood-based in its efforts to build resilience and strengthen coping capacities to various shocks. In the Sool and Sanaag regions, populations are recurrently acutely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 and above). The recurrence of populations falling back into food insecurity shows the need to increase the resilience of agriculture and livestock-based livelihoods and food systems. One area of focus for FAO is the fodder value chain, particularly in the Sool and Sanaag region.

Much of Somaliland’s economic growth is attributable to livestock production and trade and export. Livestock continues to be the most important source of foreign income in Somaliland, with international exports to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Yemen. It accounts for nearly 65% of the economy. However, due to climate change, recurrent drought, poor natural resource management, a drop in exports as a result of COVID-19 and inadequate fodder production, livestock owners face increasing challenges to feed their animals.

Ahmed transforms traditional practices to keep cattle healthy during droughts

Ahmed Warsame Ismail is 68 year old and lives in Lafweyne village Hudun district, Sool region. The population of Lafweyne village is an estimated 2,500 households and is predominantly a pastoral community. Ahmed and his wife Tusmo Abdulahi Ismail participated in the FNS-REPRO meetings and natural resource management training held in their village. Ahmed told our partners, “I am a father with three children, we have been rearing animals for a long time and I had no idea about natural resource management especially fodder production,” he added, “As nomadic pastoralists we keep moving with our livestock from one place to another in search of pasture and water for our livestock.This discussion with FNS-REPRO partners has helped me to change my mind and to get an idea about how to improve fodder production through integrated community based natural resource management. This will enable me and the whole community to feed our animals during the drought. I’m glad this project has changed my way of thinking,” Ahmed stated.

High-level visit to FNS-REPRO project sites to check progress

In April 2021, FAO Representative in Somalia, Etienne Peterschmitt visited FNS- REPRO project sites in the Erigaavo district of Sanaag region. FAO teams met with government and implementing partners. FAO’s commitment to partnering with the government led to discussions with the Governor of Sanaag Region on how to strengthen the relationship between FAO and the local authorities through the FNS-REPRO project. Meetings were also held with the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery Development at HQ/ Hargeisa level. Additionally, the teams visited implementing partners, Sanaag University and Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee (HAVOYOCO) to receive updates and hear from beneficiaries.

“We are grateful for the generous funding from the Government of the Netherlands that increases the resilience of agriculture and livestock-based livelihoods and food systems in the region,” stated Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO Representative in Somalia, “This project promotes sustainable management of the natural resource base and strengthens a person’s ability to meet their own food needs in the medium and long term,” he added, “Production of fodder is an integral part of improved land use management that can stabilise livestock production and reduce livestock loss to increase food security.”

Coming together as a community to recover and rebuild food systems

Long existing conflicts over shared natural resources in areas such as Dhaxamo village has taken its toll on local pastoral and agro-pastoral livestock production. Natural disasters, including desert locust infestations, have in many cases destroyed livestock pastures, which are the primary source of income for pastoral families, exacerbating the underlying conflicts within the communities. Abdiqadir and his wife have seven children, and they took part in FNS-REPRO program activities such as peacebuilding and conflict resolution training, as well as livelihood support.

Abdiqadir told our partners, “Your encouragement to peacefully participate in FNS-REPRO project interventions to promote the livelihoods of our local community through improved income sources encouraged us to come together and discuss our internal issues.” Abdiqadir added, “We reached a mutual agreement over the existing conflict for the benefit of our community.”

Source: Relief Web