MOGADISHU, May 30, 2018 – Sahal, a dairy farmer, is CEO of Bovine Industry, an urban dairy farm in central Mogadishu. The company cross-breeds Somali cattle with Jersey cattle to produce higher-quality milk.
“Mogadishu is the only capital in the world where you can’t buy fresh milk,” Sahal said. “How can a country that exports the most livestock in the world not have fresh milk?”
Despite the clear need for fresh milk, it has been difficult for Sahal and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like his to access capital to grow their businesses. That was before the November launch of the Somali Business Catalytic Fund (SBCF), which aims to spur economic growth in country by supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs.
With support from the SBCF, Sahal was able to fit his backyard business with grazing grass and fences. The demand for fresh milk is soaring, with an average waiting list of three months for a single liter. Soon, Sahal will be able to increase his herd of 15 cows, producing more milk and allowing him to employ more people. He believes that development should be based on grassroots needs, and simple supply/demand analyses.
“Farmers have the knowledge to pasteurize milk, produce yogurt and expand the Somali dairy sector,” he said. “We just need the machinery and capital to make it happen.”
SBCF, the Bank’s flagship job creation initiative in Somalia, targets businesses that focus on innovative processes, products and markets new to the region. It is also intended to stimulate the business and technical services industry to build sector expertise in agriculture, livestock and energy, among others. So far, the SBCF has selected 101SMEs across the Somali peninsula – South Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland -- to receive financial and technical support. The selected firms are expected to generate more than 2,000 jobs.