Livestock dealers in Somaliland are expecting to export 50,000 goats during the month of Ramadan to newly opened up markets in Oman.
The livestock are coming from Hargeisa, Berbera, Burao, Gabiley, Borama and Wajaale markets. These markets all suffered a major downturn in business following the ban on Somali livestock imports by Saudi Arabia in December 2016.
The regional coordinator of the ministry of livestock in Sahil region, Ahmed Omar Osman, told Radio Ergo the first exports of 15,000 goats on 12 May raised the hopes of local families whose livelihoods had been threatened by the long drought. It has been two years since Berbera last saw any exports of animals.
“There are people in the markets and the port has been busy with the influx of livestock, this will offer survival for the people who suffered major downturns and didn’t have markets for their livestock,” Ahmed Omar Osman said.
The resumption of the livestock trade has already shown benefits for those buying and selling animals, as well as the businesses and restaurants around the port.
Nuur Egal, a livestock broker in Gabiley, told Radio Ergo he had recently facilitated the sale of 400 goats. He has been connecting local pastoralists to the traders exporting livestock to Oman.
“When there is economic activity, there is always income! I earn half a dollar for every successful sale,” said Nuur, who is glad to back in the business after spending the last two years working as a casual porter offloading trucks.
Mohamud Jibril Osman, a pastoralists in Kalabeyd, 15 km west of Gabiley, told Radio Ergo he had sold seven of his goats.
“I have earned $400 from the sale, and I used the money to buy medication for the rest of my livestock. I also bought shoes and clothing for the children. It has been years since I bought any clothing!” said Mohamud.
Mohamud, 42, and his five children have been depending on food handouts from his brother in Hargeisa during the recent hard times of the drought.
Abdiqadir Mohamud Yonis, an economist at the University of Hargeisa, told Radio Ergo the new export market would reduce the hyperinflation of food prices, and stabilize the local currency. He said the trade would raise the living standards of the pastoral communities as well as people in the cities, who are all dependent on livestock as the mainstay of the economy.
The ministry coordinator, Ahmed Omar Osman, said Somaliland high-level delegations had visited Saudi Arabia and Yemen seeking to boost livestock export sales.
Saudi Arabia used to be the leading importer of Somaliland livestock importing four million goats and camels annually. Oman has not traditionally been a major market.