Mogadishu:– The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Somalia, with funding from the European Union (EU), handed over pick-up trucks, motorbikes and tractors with farm implements to federal and regional government partners at a ceremony held in Mogadishu on Thursday, under the OUTREACH II project. The OUTREACH II project titled ‘Resilient, Inclusive and Competitive Agriculture Value Chain Development in Southern and Central Regions of Somalia’ aims to boost the agriculture, which play a crucial role in Somalia’s economic growth. The agricultural motorbikes and pick-up trucks will be used by Ministry extension officers and technical value chain officers to ensure efficient and effective delivery of extension services to farmers and cooperative groups. While the tractors and other farm implements and inputs given to the Ministry will be used to improve access for farmers to new technology, including pre/post-harvest handling and management skills to maximize crop yields and minimize losses.
Somalia possesses large swathes of unexploited fertile alluvial soils for cereals, legumes and horticulture crops. Yet the country’s agriculture sector is hampered by low productivity, high post-harvest losses, low product quality and high vulnerability to climate change. Despite the many current constraints, including insecurity, better access by farmers to new technology and good delivery of extension services with these vehicles will contribute to improving the sector’s production and market performance.
Present at the handover ceremony in Mogadishu on Thursday were the Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Honourable Said Hussein Iid of the Federal Government of Somalia, Hirshebelle State Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Honourable Mohamed Omar Ceymooy, South West State Minister for Agriculture Honourable Mustaf Ahmed Idow, European Union Programme Manager Mr Umberto Ambrosi, and Mr Jonathan Brooks, Senior Programme Advisor for FAO Somalia.
Connecting farmers to training and technology
The four pick-up trucks, twelve motorbikes, and six tractors with farm implements donated will ensure that technical officers in the agriculture sector have the means to travel to farms and reach people in rural areas. This contributes to a continuing goal of offering important extension services to small scale farmers, such as technical advice on agriculture as well as supplying them with the necessary services to support their crop production and increase their productivity.
Using these vehicles, technical officers will also be able to train farmers on business strategy and planning, financial systems, process improvement, quality, pricing, price differentials, inventory, distribution, and financing to enhance their financial and farm management. “This is a timely boost that the agriculture sector needs. Our technical officers will now have the capacity to deliver on-field trainings to farmers across the region thanks to these motorbikes and pick-ups. We hope the small-scale farmers we target can benefit from our officers’ trainings and produce a better-quality yield,” said Hon. Said Hussein Iid, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of Somalia.
Small-scale farmers will also benefit from the services of the tractors which will enable them to plough their lands while making sure that they have access to a better cultivating method that can yield a good harvest. “Agriculture is one of the backbones of the economy and we must support small-scale farmers to become increasingly self-sufficient and food secure, strengthening Somalia’s food systems in the process,” said FAO in Somalia Representative Etienne Peterschmitt continuing, “These vehicles will help fulfil that goal by enabling farmers to connect with ministry staff to receive the latest trainings and technology needed to improve levels of productivity.”
Strengthening institutions and enhancing livelihoods
The European Union funded OUTREACH II project consolidates and complements other ongoing EU projects in the region. It is aimed at enhancing livelihoods, resilience, and economic development, promoting a more conducive environment to exploit opportunities, and overcome constraints present in the Somali context. “The Outreach II project contribute to a broader and ambitious action which aims at reviving the riverine agriculture in Somalia,” said Nicole Miller, the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Somalia. “This action offers a unique opportunity to promote a sustainable and inclusive development by implementing innovative solutions to climate shocks, improving the overall food security trend and contributing to the stabilization and peace process in the southern regions,” she said.
The project combines capacity building for Somalia’s emerging public institutions and supporting smallholders and private sector organizations to enhance rural services based on public-private collaboration, creating better job opportunities, income, livelihoods for smallholders’ farmers in identified value chains.
Communications Assistant | FAO Somalia