Solar Irrigation Sustains Mohamedís Farming Dream
Published March 26, 2018 by Muna Ali
Mohamed in his farm in Durduri village, March 10th 2018
Recurring droughts, increasing water and food prices, and vanishing pasturelands. These are some of the challenging realities that pastoralists in Somalia struggled with over the past two decades. So when four years ago skeptical members of the community questioned Mohamed Hassan if the current climate and environmental conditions that couldn’t sustain their animals would sustain a farm? That didn’t stop him from pursuing his farming dream.
“In the privacy of my thoughts I was aware of all the roadblocks, but I refused to be discouraged by them. A small land that I inherited from my father motivated me to give my dream a go, and tackle the challenges as they came.” Mohamed reminisces.
In the first year, farming proved more demanding than Mohamed had anticipated. To his disappointment, his first yield was very poor. The irrigation of the farm was very expensive, consuming USD 150 worth of fuel a month. For a pastoral family, in an increasingly encroaching drought running a farm was becoming unsustainable.
“Water and pasture shortages left our animals in bad shape, the livestock prices dropped and we couldn’t sell them in the market. We had no enough income from the livestock or the farm to purchase basic foodstuffs. So I had to choose between the farm and the survival of my family” explained Mohamed.
Just when Mohamed was about to give up farming, things turned around for him. In 2015, Adeso rolled out the first phase of Sustainable Coastal Restoration and Development for Somalia project funded by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF). The project which opereated in 3 villages; Durduri, Elyao, and Qaw, aimed to promote sustainable coastal habitat restoration and alleviate poverty through strengthening fishing and farming capacities of the communities. Providing them with the skills and the tools to improve their livelihoods.
Mohamed was one of 10 smallholder farmers who received solar sets for irrigation in Durduri, a coastal village in Sanaag region. The solar water pump provided a reliable and more sustainable irrigation for the farmers. It also relived them from the financial strain of expensive fuel which consumed 50% of their income and the maintenance of the generators.
“Thanks to the solar pumps we don’t have to worry about water, neither for our consumption nor the farm.” Mohamed said. “On the top of that, I don’t have to spend money of fuel anymore. I get to keep the profit I make and invest it back in the farm after we have covered our basic needs and repaid our debts.” He continued.
Last year, Mohamed plants a variety of crops, including maize and date. When he harvested his crops, it wasn’t only enough for his family’s consumption and to sell but he also distributed some of it the harvest to the drought-affected people who migrated to Durduri.
Mohamed still got a long way to go before he can run a profitable farm business but as he gains more experience with every passing year and thanks to solar irrigation which mean water is one less thing he has to worry about. Mohamed’s dream to live off the land is a reality now thanks to the support he received from LDF through Adeso.
Learn more about how the first phase of the Sustainable Coastal Restoration and Development for Somalia project provided trainings in sustainable fishing techniques, marketing, business skills and value chains for hardworking men and women like Deqa Sanyare.