Article: The Importance of Research on Enhancing the Food Security of Pastoral and Agro-pastoral Community in Somaliland Project
ADO and ISF had been partner for the last four years starting from 2011 and both organizations were willing to intervene the acute food insecurity conditions in Somaliland. However, ADO, which is the only agriculture development organization in Somaliland and had two decades back expertise in the field of agriculture development initiated a food security project for the agro-pastoral and pastoral communities in Beer and Beerato villages of Togdheer region. The project employed agriculture sector expert staffs to deal with the deteriorating food security status in the country.
To make sure that the project design meets the beneficiary target community needs through participatory approach; the project focused on six mature expecting results of;
I. Crop production capacity of household level in increased
II. Target communities alternative livelihoods possibilities is enhanced
III. The capacity of the farmers’ co-operatives is improved
IV. Value addition businesses is increased in target villages
V. The livestock productivity in the target villages is improved and;
VI. The professionalism capacity of CLHE and ADO staff to manage livelihoods project is strengthened
target villages that will contribute to the overall goal of enhancing the social well-being conditions of the target as the project core purpose is to provide sufficient income to the pastoral and agro-pastoral families in the target areas.
To make sure that the project meets its’ milestones, the implementing partner (ADO) utilized the project funds in an efficient way and priority community needs were taken into account and intervened by the project. These various intervention key points include but not limited to; building the capacity of the local pre-existed farmer cooperative capacity, provision of primary and secondary farming inputs of farm tools, seeds, fertilizers and machinery of Massey Ferguson tractors to help farmers production increase gradually. Also, the project trained numerous extension agents among the local farmers to diffuse the agricultural innovations with their farmer colleagues. Moreover, the project promoted the irrigation infrastructures and made spate diversion irrigation and canals and de-siltation of the existing irrigation canal. Currently, the project is focusing to promote value adding and crop diversification as the project is shifting the project beneficiaries from subsistence farming to intensive farming through adaption irrigated farming systems that would let farmers to cultivate throughout the year. To make sure the logic of these farming innovations, the project will promote water harvesting technologies, development of research and knowledge base centers of trial demonstration farms in the target village.
Recently three of the project staff followed by ADO Executive Director went to Ethiopia for exposure and experience sharing trip while the overall objectives of these trip were;
- Gain raw crops processing and value addition experience.
- Visit Ethiopia agriculture research centres and see improvements made on cereal, legume, oil, horticulture and fruit crops.
- See the existing agro-pastoral farmers and their farmer cooperatives.
As a result of this trip whereby the visitors went to four different localities of Godey of Somali-Ethiopia Shebelle region of exactly an agro-pastoral community that have the same climatic similarities, Haramaya University of the best agriculture university in Ethiopia and its research centres as well as , Malkassa agriculture research centre.
The outputs of this trip were fruitful and notably the outcomes of this trip were;
- Collection of sample seed including 7 sorghum and varieties of Malkassa 1-7 as well as vegetable and fruit crop that are favourable in our project localities and can be planted by ADO in various trial demonstration plots and seed multiplication centres to distribute theses seed varieties to the project beneficiaries in short run.
- The yielding of these varieties will benefit farmers in many ways including;
a) Adoptability to the local ecology
b) High yielding
c) Tolerance to pest and diseases
d) Early maturity
3. Establishment of link with one of the best regional university (Haramayo University) thatassured to provide consultancy and capacity building as the willingness of the university to donate a bulk of certified seed for multiplication.
As a result of this experience sharing trip, ADO come up with viable recommendations of;
- Seek further funds for seed multiplication and establishment of standard demonstration plots to multiply certified seeds and distribute to the project beneficiaries in the short run. Hence, getting certified seed varieties is a major constraint that halts the farmers’ production capacity
- Regular exposure visit to the resource centres to gain further knowledge and share experience with the regional farmers.
- Procurement of the plastic sheets from Ethiopia that are suitable for dry land irrigation.
- Establishment of local seed bank for seed storage and availability.
- Invite field experts from Haramaya during the establishment of seed multiplication, storage and testing processes.