Planting the seeds for a better future

Published September 13, 2018 by Muna Ali

Not so long ago, the idea of farming in this semi-arid land in the North-Eastern Bari region, Somalia would have raised more than a few eyebrows. But, Ibrahim Mohamed Ese is challenging the skeptics. Starting his farm in the outskirts of Qaw, a coastal village in Bari, coincided with the beginning of the first phase of the of Sustainable Coastal Restoration and Development for Somalia project in February 2015.  The project aimed to increase food security in the Puntland State of Somalia through solutions that are sustainable and appropriate for the environment. Such as providing farmers with resources and trainings on simple, financially feasible and profitable methods to grow food.

Ibrahim started his farm with date palm seeds given by Adeso, then transitioned to planting lemon trees, watermelon, onions, tomatoes, spinach and other quick cash crops and trees. Fast growing crops help him make quick returns on his investment from seasonal harvest. While using some of the produce for his family’s consumption. Date palm, however, is a longer investment and is the main product that he wants his farm to focus on in the future.

“Date palm takes 4-7 years before it bears fruit. It needs patience. But I think it’s perfectly suited for this coastal environment. It’s more resilient and profitable than small cash crop so it is worth the wait.” says Ibrahim.

Local farmers in Somalia are faced with a lot of challenges, especially water scarcity. But Ibrahim’s journey making a living from the land, was not without opportunities. In addition to the seeds and the training that he and other farmers in the area received during the first phase of the project, he also received a solar irrigation system in February 2018. This presented a solution to the water scarcity issue that affected farmers’ yield in the past few years, sometimes leading to crop failure. The solar powered irrigation helps farmers get adequate and reliable water supply year round for their farms. Significantly reducing the financial strain from fuel powered irrigation which depleted their resources in the past.

Ibrahim’s farm started with a dream, a plot of land and his determination. And he seems to stop at nothing to make that dream come to fruition. Not only to feed his family from working the land, but also plant the seed for a stronger future for his children. A future where he does not have to worry about their food security, education and other needs.

"Hopefully, we will be able to harvest our first date palm next year. I am planning to sell it in nearby towns such as Bosaso. I hope that one day, I will leave my children a fine productive farm”. Says Ibrahim with an optimistic smile.

The Sustainable Coastal Restoration and Development II builds on the success of the first phase of the project. It continues to promote sustainable coastal habitat restoration and to alleviate poverty through expanding activities such as planting mangroves and date palms, and supporting fishermen transitioning from drought effects agro-pastoralists to more sustainable fishing livelihood strategies.