Tuesday September 12, 2023
Farmers in Southern Somalia planting their crops/ File Photo/Ergo
Fartun Ali Warsame has been earning a weekly income of $200-250 selling her farm produce including maize, sorghum, beans, and lemons.“Our family was poor and we used to worry a lot about how we could earn a living, and where could I get a job? That was my situation but now we’ve got wealth. Even if there will be further drought we will get sustenance from our farm. Previously I was working and the money ran out quickly, but the farm can cover our needs,” she said.
As a mother of eight, she is happy her family is now eating well and no longer needs to depend on other people for food handouts.
Fartun’s family, with a one-hectare farm in Rabaale, 30 kilometres from Garowe, were among 1,300 farmers in Nugal region celebrating their first harvests in three years because of key agricultural support provided by local experts.
From March, local NGO Salam Development Centre (SDC) organised farming skills trainings, and provided seeds, farm equipment, pesticides, and water storage facilities to improve production in this part of Puntland that has been badly affected by drought.
“This project was very important. We’ve received some important equipment that has been beneficial. It supported farmers trying to improve their harvests. After we got the training we became productive,” said Fartun.
She is happy to have paid off the $650 loans she had taken to buy food for her children. She says this is the best harvest and income she has ever had.
She can now afford the $10 fees to send each of her five older children back to school. They had to drop out earlier due to the family’s poverty.
Fartun’s husband has taken a break from working tough porter jobs for small money in Garowe as he is getting older and they can now rely on their farm.
Another local farmer Ahmed Hersi Gelle has also turned his three-hectare farm in Uun, 60 kilometres east of Garowe, into profit after three years of having not reaped anything.
Ahmed, who has a wife and 10 children, also benefited from the training and inputs to his farm.
“We have learned how to treat the crops and protect them from pests. We have got seeds and good quality equipment. All that is important because we didn’t have it. One spade is important for poor families,” he said.
He is now sharing what he has with his relatives who lost their livestock in the drought. He invited them to live in his compound and work on the farm.
“When there is drought there are diseases. When the livestock perished, the people turned to farms. A farm owned by one family is now being shared by five or even six families. So, we are now recovering,” he said.
When the farm was bare Ahmed relied on some money sent by his two older sons doing casual jobs in Mogadishu.
Now, however, he estimates that they could make $3,000 this year from the sale of the farm produce in Garowe.
The director of Salam Development Centre, Mohamed Adan Jama, said farmers in Jibi-gale, Uun, Rabale and La-dher villages benefited from this project called Kobciye, which they hope will lift up villagers faced by years of misery and drought.
“When we started this project, the land was bare. Today it is green with vegetables. The land was bare but now it is productive for the farmers,” he said.