MOGADISHU, June 15, 2018 – In observation of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, Meet two farmers and two female entrepreneurs, who—supported by the Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP)—share their experiences of grit, hope, and resilience despite years of drought and famine risks. Together with partners, particularly the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the project aimed to scale-up drought response and recovery in Somalia.
1. An impressive harvest, a happy farmer
The story of Saed Mohamud may not typically be expected from Somalia in 2017, two years into a severe drought that put the country in a nationwide state of natural disaster and famine—yet Mohamud is not alone. In 2017, thousands of families beat the odds and produced good yields, thanks to concerted efforts from government and partners, and solid donor investment in building farmers’ resilience against drought.
Achieving these yields required a special selection of quality seeds sourced from certified local traders. Farmers received training in drought-resilient practices, such as intercropping, to retain soil moisture; on-farm support to plough or irrigate fields, where appropriate; and livelihood packages tailored to the needs and conditions of different production areas of in the country. Cash transfers were also included as part of the package, so farmers could afford to feed their families while restoring their own food production capacity.
During the April–June season in 2017, farmers who received assistance package produced 1.55 tonnes of sorghum, on average. This was enough cereal for a household of six to feed itself for six months until the next harvest—while, at the same time, generating US$600 in income from the surplus.
The efforts were part of the SEDRP, which included an FAO program, with support from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
2. Transferring opportunities and hope: Enabling entrepreneurship through cash-for-work opportunities
By the time single parent, Amina Hussein, joined the cash-for-work activity of the project in the Bari region, she had already run out of money. She had borrowed cash from a relative to buy food and to pay some of her daughter's school fees, but she didn't know how she would repay the loan. Amina found new hope and opportunity in working to rehabilitate a water reservoir in her local community. She plans to use part of the money she earns to repay the loan, and then invest in opening a small tea shop.