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Fighting against drought-induced hunger: FAO provides rural households in Somalia with cash livestock and agricultural support

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Fighting against drought-induced hunger: FAO provides rural households in Somalia with cash livestock and agricultural support

When we received this support from FAO, our animals were weak and emaciated, but thanks to the complementary feeding blocks and deworming of our livestock, their situation improved.

ROME, Italy, December 1, 2021 / APO Group / –

Sureedo lives on his farm in the village of Qoordumey, Dolow, Somalia. He grows fruits and vegetables with his family and was among 2,500 rural farm households affected by drought and swarms of desert locusts that have decimated crops and destroyed livelihoods.

The ongoing drought, the invasion of the desert locust, and the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have had a major impact on the country’s agri-food system, contributing to food insecurity in Somalia. Since the majority of the population, especially rural communities, depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, these crises represent a significant threat to people’s lives and livelihoods. Both livestock and agriculture play an important role in Somalia’s economy, with the two sectors being the country’s main sources of economic activity, employment and exports.

Thanks to generous funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund through the project “Supporting emergency livelihoods for rural populations affected by drought in Somalia”, FAO supported 4,350 affected agro-pastoral households in the Laasqoray and Dolow districts. The project aimed to address acute food insecurity in these areas and help affected households to re-engage in production activities.

The agricultural component of the project focused on the most vulnerable agricultural households in the Dolow district, Gedo region. Each household received agricultural tools, irrigation support, storage bags, and locally adapted varieties of seeds that are tolerant to drought. The seed kit (composed of cereals, vegetables, legumes and / or legume seeds) was adapted to the needs and traditional practices of farmers in the different agro-ecological zones of Somalia. The kit enabled households to produce their own food, earn income and use crop residues as fodder for livestock.

“FAO supported us with seeds, tools, cash and even irrigation,” Sureedo said at his farm in Dolow. “As you can see now, I am harvesting fruits and vegetables, and when I get home, we will cook this meal,” he said. “The three-month cash payment I received allowed me to support my family while I waited to harvest my farm,” Sureedo added.

The project also helped reduce displacement among agropastoral communities by supporting them to remain productive in their rural areas. The foundations were laid for future recovery and more resilient local agri-food systems through training on good agricultural practices, among others, and the provision of improved crop varieties.

Through the project’s livestock component, FAO reached 1,850 households in Laasqory district, Sanaag region, with 50 percent of these households headed by women.

“As a proactive action project, we are targeting the districts most affected by the drought to bring communities back to being productive after a cruel combination of dry conditions and swarms of desert locusts that decimated crops and destroyed farming environments. life of many agropastoral communities, ”said Khalid Saeed. FAO Livestock Coordinator in Somalia.

Each household received three months of cash payments and livestock support kits that included a container of mazzican milk, two pieces of complementary feed block, and deworming of up to ten animals. Cash transfers were provided to help households meet their immediate needs while allowing them to return to production and continue to feed their families.

“When we received this support from FAO, our animals were weak and emaciated, but thanks to the complementary feeding blocks and the deworming of our livestock, their situation improved. The complementary food blocks increased their strength and ability to withstand harsh conditions and the result is visible, ”said Ali Mohamud Farah, a pastor from Badhan village in Laasqoray, Somalia.

For large families like Mohamud’s, the cash helped reduce the gaps caused by the inability to sell weak animals due to the drought. “The cash could not have come at a better time because, for me, it helped me buy a lot of basic products, which I couldn’t buy before because all my animals were too weak to sell,” he said.

While the prolonged drought has affected most of these rural communities that depend on livestock and agriculture, the program enabled people like Mohamud and Sureedo to strengthen their resilience and provide for their families. “I would say that this support gave us an advantage over a stinging drought accompanied by other shocks like the desert locust,” Mohamud said.

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