Traders in Baidoa fall victim to Somali drought

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Sawir/Keydka Ergo Photo | File photo/Ergo

Radio Ergo 26 April, 2017 BAYDHABO


(ERGO) - Habibo Mohamed Abdi, 42, a mother of six children, has found it impossible to substitute the income she has lost from the collapse of her milk selling business in the southern Somali town of Baidoa.  Her husband, a porter, is unemployed and the children have been sent home from school.

The secondary effects of the severe drought across Somalia are forcing many families into distress.

“I am thinking of selling our house and moving away or even moving to one of the IDP camps in Baidao,” Habibo said. “My children are now faced with hunger and no education, the school has suspended them because we could not pay the fees, and I can tell you this drought has affected us in a way that we have never seen before.”

Habibo’s family lives in a four-room house made of iron sheets, on a plot they own. She used to make at least $20 a day selling milk and was managing to feed the family and pay for the education of the four school-aged children. Her husband’s poor health means he cannot work.

Baidoa, in the breadbasket Bay region of Somalia, has suffered dramatically from the drought. Farmers have been unable to plant and livestock have perished due to lack of water and pasture.

The traders who earn a living through the sale of farming and livestock produce have now begun to suffer too.

The camel herders who used to bring milk to town to sell to businesswomen like Habibo have all moved away with whatever animals they have left.

Mohamud Hussein Moalim, a trader in the livestock market in town, is also feeling desperate. He used to $10 a day as a middleman in the market that kept his seven member family going. He was unable to pay the $35 school fees for his three children in school last month and fears they will be sent home.

He still goes to the livestock market every morning hoping to find some business from his old customers.

“I don’t make even enough money to buy an eighth of a kilo of sugar.  Most days I go back home empty handed and sometimes my workmates donate $2 to me,” he said.

Other business men and women trading in local cereals especially maize, sorghum and beans have fallen victim to the drought too, as the farmers in Bay region harvested little if anything in the previous rainy season.

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