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Graduates in Baidoa make money through livestock sales

Wednesday May 15, 2024

Mohamed Kheyr (right) and his workmate tending to some of their goats/Abdullahi Sharif/Ergo

A group of 30 mainly educated men in Baidoa, southern Somalia, are making a successful living buying up livestock in poor condition and selling them on for a profit after fattening them up.

Mohamed Kheyr, 41, the head of the Wadajir association, said they decided to go into the livestock business as there were few other alternatives in the country.

He graduated in 2022 with a degree in agriculture from the University of Southern Somalia but was unable to find a job despite sending numerous applications.

“We came together and developed this idea together and then decided to form an association. We have divided ourselves in terms of tasks and we work together. We began with an initial $1,000 investment that we collected among us to get the business going,” he explained.

At first he didn’t have high hopes of success and was surprised when they made $4,000 profit within the first three months.

They buy thin goats at about $20-$30 each and can sell them on after fattening for $50-$80. Mohamed Kheyr said his family now enjoys all three meals and his children also attend school.

“People want our services, they count on us, everyone calls us. They ask us if the goats have got fat yet and if we have given them nutritious food,” he said.

Most of those involved are university graduates, who completed their studies between 2020-2022 but couldn’t find jobs.

One of the group members, Mohamed Mohamud Mukhtar, 40, said he bought the first goats at a very low price from Baidoa market last September. After feeding them up they were sold at a profit. In February, they bought five camels and have started producing and selling milk.

The group saves a third of their income to advance the business. When they started, they rented land on the outskirts of Baidoa to graze their livestock. Now they have been able to buy some farm land for this purpose.

Mohamed says he makes about $180 a month to support his wife and 11 children. He enrolled seven of his children in local Mustafa Sheikh school in January, paying $35 for their education. He is saving up to buy a house to avoid paying the current $120 rent that he finds hard to afford.

He used to depend on his relatives for income and had been so desperate for independence that he was planning on taking a risk and migrating overseas. Now he spends most of his time on their farm, taking care of the livestock. He took a training course on rehabilitation for drought-affected livestock.

“Whenever the livestock are bought from the market to the farm, it’s my job to take care of them. I give them medication, fodder and clean water. We water them in the morning and afternoon and feed them on ground food supplements. When the livestock arrive, they spend their first week in an enclosure for intensive feeding,” he explained.

His colleague Adan Ali Adan, 33, is tasked with buying livestock from the livestock markets. He joined the group last December and now earns $200 a month that supports his wife and six children.

Adan has enrolled five of his children in a local school, paying $30 for their education.

“We were really having a hard time before and this job has been beneficial. We have made good progress in our lives,” he said.

Adan has managed to move his family out of the iron-sheet house owned by his parents that they were occupying into their own house.


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