Agro-pastoralists in Gabiley affected by drought

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Sawir/Keydka Ergo Photo | Sawir/Keydka Ergo



Poor rains have badly affected the agro-pastoralist community in a remote part of Somaliland’s Gabiley district.

Mohamed Abdisamad Qalinl, talked to Radio Ergo about the conditions faced by himself and others in the village of Geed-baladh, which is 250km from Gabiley town.

Mohamed: The situation here is now grave - the short rains have failed, so we were not able to plant anything. Most people have crossed over to the Somali region of Ethiopia in search of food, pasture and water.

Ergo: Is it this year that you have not received any rains?

Mohamed: Yes. It’s this year that we missed the ‘gu rains [April to June] and as a result there is a biting drought that is badly felt in the area.  We have not been able to harvest any grass to feed our animals and we depend on them for our living. There is no vegetation, everything has dried up.  The remaining livestock are very weak. Livestock diseases are also adding to our predicament.

Ergo: What problems have you yourself faced?

Mohamed: I have lost several animals to disease and hunger. I’m also looking starvation in the eyes as we can’t plant now, at this time we should be harvesting!

Ergo: Are these problems shared across the settlement?

Mohamed: Animals across Geed-balaadh are affected of course, but the worst thing was disease that nearly wiped out the herds especially the goats. Thankfully the Somaliland administration sent a team of veterinary officers who managed to contain it.

Ergo: You said people were moving to the Somali region of Ethiopia. How far is it from where you are?

Mohamed: Our town lies along the border.

Ergo: What about water, do you have enough to drink?

Mohamed: There is a shortage of water but that is not the worst part of our problem, it is the lack of rain that is worse. As we speak now, it has just started to rain a little – but this is the first time we are seeing rain drops since March this year.

Ergo: You said you are agro-pastoralists, do you plant grass for the animals as well as food for human consumption?

Mohamed: We normally plant with our animals in mind. While we plant food crops, we also plant grass, from which we make hay to cater for our animals during the dry season. We plant crops such as vegetables, tomatoes and beans which we take to the market.

Ergo: Where do you market your produce?

Mohamed: We can sell in Hargeisa, Wajale, Borama and Gebilley. We normally plant cash crops like tomatoes during the first six months of the year – but this year we have not planted due to failed rains so we will not have any harvest.

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