(ERGO) – As farmers returned to their farms following some rainfall in parts of drought-hit southern Somalia, casual work opened up for scores of displaced people living in squalid camps in and around the town of Baidoa.
The chairman of the farmers’ association in Bay region, Abdinoor Ibrahim Mohamed, said the association had linked up 113 displaced people, including 30 women, with farmers needing labourers.
Farm owners need workers at least three different times, for preparing the fields, planting, and harvesting.
“People help each other, but the displaced are almost all in the same situation – the only way to help them is to give them priority when there is a job opportunity. We call the poorest among the displaced people to take the jobs available,” Abdinoor explained.
Asho Abdulahi Ali, 39, a widowed mother of five children, has been living in Salama IDP camp in Baidoa for eight months. Her herd of 78 goats was wiped out by the drought.
She is currently working on local farms for six hours a day and makes $4 to buy food and milk for her children.
“This job is better than the cleaning jobs I was doing for the past four months. It was not regular and I earned $2 a day when I got work,” Asho said. “At first I was struggling in the fields because it is tough job for a pastoralist who does not know about farming. But it is still a good job and I no longer worry about the family’s needs.”
Habibo Hussein Ahmed, 28, a mother of five, migrated from her farm in the rural areas of Qansahdere due to drought. She now lives in Adado IDP camp in Baidoa. Since finding farm work, she goes every day to a farm four km away with her youngest five month-old-daughter strapped to her back. After six hours in the field she brings about $4 home.
“I leave my older children with my neighbours. We receive some food from an agency and I use the money I earn to buy milk and other family needs,” Habibo told Radio Ergo’s local reporter.
The rains have ceased in most areas and it is not yet clear whether enough fallen to allow the crops to grow.