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Somaliland farmers get seeds and support to grow food to revive the economy

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Bulldozers cultivate farm lands of destitute farmers /Ilyas Abdi/Ergo

(ERGO) – The Somaliland agriculture ministry has given seeds to 9,000 families badly affected by the drought, as part of a plan to revitalize food production and stop people from dropping out of farming.

The farming families each received maize and sorghum seeds to plant one hectare of land, as well as the use of vehicles, machinery and labour to prepare the land ahead of the planting season.

Agriculture ministry spokesman Sa’ad Abdi Muse told Radio Ergo they had supported cultivation of 2,000 hectares of land in Maroodi-Jeh and Awdal, and 7,000 hectares in Togdheer, Saraar, Sanag, Saahil and Sool regions.  He said they had targeted the land strategically, expecting to improve agricultural production and to support those farmers could not recover from the effects of the prolonged drought on their own.

The Gu seasonal rains have resumed in most parts of Somaliland and it is time for planting. Around $50,000 used to support this initiative were collected at the height of the drought last year by the drought response committee in Somaliland. Donations were gathered in local markets, neighbourhoods and government offices.

Mohamed Abdi Ali, a farmer in Hudisa village in Sahil region, said he had been on the point of giving up farming after being hard hit during the drought. However, last month he received sorghum and maize seeds from the ministry and went ahead to plant.

He hopes the harvest will be good enough to store food for the family through the dry season.  He told Radio Ergo he did not have money for seeds and other inputs so the ministry’s support was vital.

Another 200 farms in Hudisa village have remained barren since September 2015.  Moahmed’s family of seven depend entirely on the produce they grow and so had little food to eat during the drought, even though they continued to help their neighbours and relatives as much as they could.

Sa’ad Abdi said a monitoring committee from the ministry will follow up on the impact of the project.

Osman Ali Nur, a member of Marodi-Jeh farmers association, said each farm planted under this project would produce 100 sacks of maize or sorghum, which will contribute significantly to overall productivity.

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