Strengthening the Capacity of Local Farmers in Afmadow
Published December 12, 2018 by Muna Ali Mohamoud
Farmers gather to plan their harvesting activities in Afmadow
It’s an early summer morning in Dhoble town and a group of local farmers gathered to harvest and transport their produce to the local market. The smiles on their faces and their sun-beaten skin indicate long hours of hard work under the sun that have finally been rewarded with a rich harvest.
In Dhoble, in the Lower Juba region of Somalia, the community relies almost entirely on fruits and vegetables from Middle Jubba in Somalia and Garissa, Kenya. This motivated some local farmers to come together and grow their own food. When this group of first time farmers came together four years ago, they had neither the skill nor resources to start and keep a farm running. However, their community’s need for accessible, affordable and fresh produce encouraged them to put some resources together and start a farm.
“Crops such as tomatoes, squash, maize, beans, watermelon and sesame are high in demand. Since we cultivate them locally, the cost is much cheaper compared to the imported ones,” says Ali Hassan Adan, one of the farmers. “These crops move fast in the market which allows us to sell everything and get a quick profit” he adds.
In November 2017, Adeso started two Agro-pastoralist Field School (APFS) in Dhoble and Afmadow, each made up of 20 participants. Ali and his group were among the local farmers that partook in the APFS in Dhoble. The school provided the small-scale farmers with theoretical knowledge and hands-on demonstration sessions on the best the way to establish nurseries, how to transplant seedlings, and how to identify suitable locations and conditions to set up the nurseries and grow certain crops.
“We learned how to test out the soil, decide the best water sources and conditions for what we want to plant. We also learned that crop rotation is very important to allow the land to rest and to restore nutrients to the soil to keep it healthy and fertile,” says Ali.
Farmers harvesting and drying their sesame produce
Additionally, the farmers’ training helped the local farmers improve their irrigation systems and make decisions about what to grow based on market values. Last year, when the farmers decided to grow sesame for the first time, the planting techniques and skills that the group learned proved very useful to ensure a healthy and adequate harvest. Today, they make their harvest which they are very excited about.
Adeso established the APFS as a part of the of the STREAM Consortium Social Safety Nets project jointly implemented by ACTED/SADO and Adeso to provide a sustainable opportunity for resilience building and food security in Lower Juba region. The farmers’ training is part of various activities such as providing unconditional cash transfer to poor and vulnerable households, skills training for urban-based livelihood development (particularly for women and youth groups) and providing business grants for viable and market-oriented enterprises.
These activities were designed to reduce hunger and poverty and build community resilience by improving access to income for households, strengthen and diversify livelihoods and develop their capacity to manage cyclic shocks. The four-year project continues to support a total of 5,000 households, 3,000 households in Adeso operational areas; Afmadow and Dhoble where and 2,000 households in Kismayo where ACTED/SADO are implementing the activities.