Between increasing droughts, below average floods and a recent desert locust infestation, Somalia suffers full force from climate change effects and the communities reliant on agriculture and livestock farming face severe food insecurity.
Climate-resilient agriculture is defined as the persistence and adaptability of farmers through sustainable and transformative agricultural methods to mitigate climate change effects, increase crop productions and reduce hunger and poverty.
With the financial support of the French Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, ACTED, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and Secours Islamique France (SIF) partnered to conduct primary and secondary earthworks activities for 615 people through the Cash for Work program between June 2021 and January 2022 in Magaalo-cad and Magaalo-Qalooc villages in the Awdal region of Somaliland.
80% of Somalia is experiencing severe drought.
Promoting sustainable and resilient agricultural practices aims at developing climate shocks resistance and food autonomy.
Improving climate-resilient agriculture helps tackle food insecurity
Somalia naturally has an arid and semi-arid climate with two rainfalls seasons. However, climate change provokes intermittent flooding and below average rainfalls and severe droughts rising in intensity and frequency, exacerbating water scarcity and displacements of population in a country facing decade-long conflicts. Consequently, 3.5 million people are food insecure due to loss of livestock and poor crop productions. The traditional copping capacities struggle to mitigate and adapt to those shocks, creating needs to develop new resilient methods for agro-pastoralist communities.
How Osman succeeded to improve the quality of his land
Osman Bule Ali Aden is 35 years old. During farming season Osman would religiously plant corn on his farm expecting profitable yields. Osman was using expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides that were harming the land and depleting the nutrients of the soil, and microbiological diversity like useful bacteria and fungi as well as getting him into debt. Over time, this was making the land less productive. When he started attending the Secours Islamique France community workshop with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, there was a mind shift. He believed it was time to try new methods that were taught in the sessions in order to optimize productivity of his land.
“I am grateful for being selected to participate in the training (GAP). The training has enhanced my understanding on farming and improved my skills as a farmer. Before participating in the training, I used chemical fertilizers and pesticides on my farm thinking it would provide better yields, I have just realized they were very expensive and they caused harm on my land.
I now understand there are better ways of farming, that can yield better results, I will try this new idea of natural farming on my land.” He further indicated that, “I have learnt that with chemical farming, I can only cultivate one single crop. In natural farming, four or five crops can be cultivated, such as tomato, onions, chili and garlic; this would provide additional income and boost nutritional standards. Lastly I have learnt a lot and have even started voluntarily attending other trainings so as to benefit more, moreover, I am also training other farmers, this will greatly help in uplifting the living standards of farmers” Osman Bule Ali Aden says.
The ACTED-ACF-SIF partnership selected 185, 350 and 80 vulnerable beneficiaries respectively and provided them with tools such as a panga (a local hand tool) and nylon rope. Through the Cash for Work program, a short-term employment opportunity, the beneficiaries conducted earthworks on communal lands : improvement of water harvesting system for crops and animals, fostering of bio-intensive planting and semi-circular earth bunds (banana/papaya circles), and creations of raised beds vegetable gardens for a better soil and drain control. In total in Magaalo-cad and Magaalo-Qalooc, 27,195 trees have been shaped, irrigated and hooped to be more climate resistant.