Monday, 25 February 2019 17:10

Can Somaliland Feed its people?

abaarr
 
The country is cultivated only 5% percent of its arable land and is not self-sufficient in food and most of our foods are imported from foreign countries. Cognizant of this, Ministry of Agriculture and Development started cultivation of Field Crops at Wajale, Xaaxi and Beer with the aim to increase food productions and to draw the attention of the people towards agricultural production and the only way forward is not only to increase the yield per hectare using better agronomic practices but also for expanding land under cultivation with improved agricultural technologies in Somaliland in general and Wajale, Xaaxi and Beer in particular. There is a room for increase in the productivity of staple food crops in Somaliland (rice, wheat, sunflower sesame, groundnut and pulses) and these can easily boost local productions into new heights given favorable climate conditions. 
There is a tremendous decline in grain production since the country took independence from Britain resulting poverty and malnutrition and mass migration of farmers from rural to urban centers. However, Limited knowledge of good agricultural practices has been one of the major obstacles impeding local productions. Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and farmer field schools are another approach that can be used to educate and train for rural farmers both rain fed and irrigated. 
Crop diversification gives   wider choice in the production of a variety of crops in a given area so as to expand production related activities on various crops and also to lessen risk.
It is generally viewed as a shift from traditionally grown less remunerative crops to more remunerative crops. To this end, Dryland Agriculture Research center will produce improved Crop varieties to broaden the choice of the farmers and consumers. It will supply also information on improved technologies for demonstration at the Dryland agriculture Centers and farmers’ fields through extension agents with programs accelerating the rate of adoption by the farmers. It is essential to Improve irrigated farming techniques for famers and Provide IPM trainings to capacitate farmers for increased cultivated area.
A real development for any farming community depends on the access to roads or else their crops will perish. A road guarantees timely delivery of products to markets and also encourages them to think more and do more in their farming business. Inadequate Infrastructures such as feeder roads, irrigation, cold chains, and preservation infrastructure facilities also hinder the productions of local farms. For instances, In irrigated farms of Somaliland has to be assisted in boosting shelf life of their fruit and vegetable with the availability of complete cold chain and preservation infrastructure facilities from production site to market.
The government alone is unable to provide the needs for the sector so we need to tap foreign direct investment to raise money for helping our own small scale farmers and to feed local people. Somaliland government and its people will benefit from investment not in terms of money but will gain from it expertise to run such a huge business that will turn our farming into real business. Somaliland government should also offer tax-free arrangements for agricultural investments in the country to encourage foreign direct investment.
To this end, rules and regulations governing foreign investment will have to be made easier to attract investors willing to do business in Somaliland. 
Series of surveys regarding land resources inventory are needed to map land units of the country for land suitability classification for production of various agricultural uses. These surveys will provide guidance to the ministry of agriculture and development for Agricultural land uses and its suitability for production of various agricultural uses to avoid of the inconsistent use of the land
The importance of agriculture cooperatives as they are effective tools for economic development is undermined by lack of commitment and resources. The economic benefits from cooperatives are shared by the members in proportion to the individual member’s patronage of the business or enterprise. 
On the other hand, Most of the farmers lack access to financial services that could help them buy agricultural inputs e.g seed and fertilizer Therefore, we need to establish Agricultural Development Bank which serves as an institution supplying credit. Personal rules and regulations to govern the microfinance and microcredit schemes for farmers must be in place before any transactions takes place.
By: Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi
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