From drought to food security
Photo: Agnes Nygren
Ansar Farm increase domestic farming and contributes to decreasing the import dependency on vegetables.
The environment of Somalia and Somaliland are semi-desert. The last three years the region has been struck by drought culminating in a dire humanitarian situation by beginning of 2018. Huge displacement of people, hunger and cholera outbreaks has followed its path. Needless to say; an area, already challenged by dry weather, and struck by yearlong droughts puts food security highest on the national agenda.
SSBP works to support Somali diaspora in their entrepreneurship which can contribute to job creation and a private sector guided by ethical concerns for human rights, gender, climate and environment.
Mohamed Qalib already owned a 40 hectare big land area in Somaliland, fertile land that hadn’t been cultivated. He applied and was admitted to the SSBP programme, which allowed him to invest into agriculture on his land and to open up shop in the town of Hargeisa.
Commercial agriculture is a resource heavy industry, both for inputs needed and machines. Wealthy nations normally subsidize the industry massively. The EU as comparison still today allocates almost 40 per cent of its total budget to agriculture, or 50 billion euros, annually. The state of Somaliland stands no chance to subsidize its agriculture by same measurements.
Ansar Farm Production as Mohamed named his company today cultivate 12 hectares of his land. The company employs seven people permanently and another twelve on part time basis during time of harvesting and other peak seasons. One of his employees is Abdirisak Sh. Muhumed, based in Hargeisa and responsible for sales, says:
"We manage to harvest once a month and we constantly expand the cultivation area."
The water used on the farm comes from a well located about a kilometer away. The water is pumped to the field with a diesel driven pump.
"We want to invest in a solar driven pump as the fuel used to this pump costs a lot of money, Abdirisak, explains."
Solar energy is expensive but only at the time of purchasing, in the long run the renewable form of energy pays off. Abdirisak further elaborate on the planned farm improvements such as drip irrigation.
"Drip irrigation would allow us to save water as there would be no excess water lost from the pump to the field, Abdirisak says."
Weather predictions for end of this year and 2019 shows above average rainfalls, it would be a welcomed relief to a severely tested region. Step by step Mohamed is able to enlarge the land used for cultivation. Initiatives like Ansar Farm production are crucial to diminish the current high dependence on imports and to increase the country’s food security.