Light At The End Of The Tunnel : Farming Presents New Possibilities For Former Fisherman

Published May 24, 2017 by Suad Hassan

 

Warsame working hard on his farm in Durduri, Sanaag, Somalia.

 

It's late afternoon and the sun is low in the sky. I can feel the heat of the coast, but the discomfort is worth enduring because I am eager to see the good work Warsame Mohamed and his fellow villagers are doing in Durduri, Sanaag region.

In the past 20 years, there has been a decline in livelihood returns from fishing in this village because international fishing vessels that have illegally encroached into the fishermen’s fishing grounds thereby reducing the locals' fishing yield. This has forced many local fishermen like Warsame out of the sea, threatening their food security.

When Warsame abandoned fishing, he sought for a new livelihood in farming however, this was hard to sustain. Operating a farm requires money for pesticides, seeds, and farming tools which are really pricey for someone with no steady source of income. Despite this, he was motivated to feed his family and planting edible crops seemed to be the only way out of hunger. 

In 2015, Warsame learned that Adeso was looking for indigenous and mangrove tree seedlings for a tree planting initiative. The profit that could be made from providing the required seedlings for the initiative interested him in giving it a try.

“I started a small nursery with 3 of my friends and within two months, we were able to supply date palm, mangrove and indigenous trees seedlings for the Adeso tree planting initiative.” He said “We have supplied 2,006 seedlings that cost USD 2.5 per seedling. We made a profit of around USD 5,017 from it.” He continues as his face brightens with a contented smile.

This profit has allowed Warsame to buy better tools, seeds for food crops and pesticide for his farm. Two years down the line, his farm has yielded enough harvest for his family’s consumption and to sell in the village market. For his four children, the steady income that Warsame makes from the nursery and the farm means a lot for their future.


“There were times when the farm yield was not good because the farm was pest infested, which reduced crops yield and quality of the harvest. In those days, it was very difficult to make a living from the farm. We lived from hand to mouth and didn’t know where the next meal was going to come from” explains Warsame.

“I have been farming for a while now, and my farm has the potential to supply my family with all the vegetable and fruit we need and the extra I can sell for profit. The nursery is supplying the village’s need of seedlings to plant more trees and mangrove that will improve the environment. It’s a win-win situation for me and the environment” he says.

For the past two years, two Adeso sister projects - a four-year EU-funded ‘Your Environment is Your Life’ project and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation funded project for coastal habitat restoration have been implementing massive tree planting activities of indigenous trees and restoration of mangroves in Durduri. Both projects aim to alleviate poverty and reduce hunger through improved conditions of the rangeland and promoting sustainable coastal habitat restoration and better farming infrastructure.