Adado pastoralists take up farming

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Xoolo-dhaqde beeraley noqday oo waraabinaya geed/sawir/Diirshe Photo | Xoolo-dhaqde beeraley noqday oo waraabinaya geed/sawir/Diirshe

16 October, 2015 GALGADUUD


65-year-old Abdullahi Nur has been a pastoralist all his life. This year, however, having lost most of his animals because of drought and with nine children to support, he decided to turn to farming.

He planted beans and watermelons on a plot of land at God-Dhurqa location, 20 km from Adado town, and was delighted to earn $2,000 from selling the cash crops.

“It’s the largest amount of money I have ever made!” said Abdullahi. “My life is now much better than before. I keep livestock and farm at the same time.”

Farming means he does not have to trek for days in search of a pasture. Now, he grows and harvests enough grass to feed his herd of 160 goats.

Prolonged and repetitive drought has made the lifestyle of Galgadud region’s pastoralist communities precarious and more and more herders are now diversifying and taking up farming to secure a better future for their families.

The first small farm in God-Dhurqa was started 11 years ago by Abdirahman Abshir, whose entire herd was wiped out by drought.

He owns a four-hectare farm on which he grows beans, watermelons, paw paws and lemons. He sells his produce at markets all across the central regions.

Abdirahman, as a pioneer, has been joined by 50 other families also venturing into farming in Adado.

“We now lead a settled lifestyle, without moving any more from one place to another in search of water and pasture for our livestock,” said Abdirahman.

He explained that this has had the added advantage of enabling his children to get access to education. His oldest son, 13, is a student at a high school in Adado. His other children attend a local primary school.

“My children would never have got access to education if I had continued being a nomad up to now and not settled down” Abdirahman said.

Bashir Mohamed, an agricultural expert, said the lack of knowledge of modern agricultural practices was one of the biggest challenges facing these newcomers to farming.  Many of them did not know how best to use irrigation given the water scarcity in the district. Training was required, Bashir said, to enable them to make the most of their decision to change their livelihoods. 

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