(ERGO) – Hopes of a good yield to bring a return on his more than $2,500 farm investment have been dashed for Somali farmer Ahmed Hussein Isse, after long periods of drought in his village in Garowe.
Ahmed, who is assistant chief of the village of Timir, 78 km from Garowe town, saw all the tomatoes, guavas, watermelon, and pawpaw he had planted on his one and a half hectare farm shrivel up and die.
“I borrowed the money to invest in my farm; I have been working on it since April last year. I used water from the borehole to irrigate the seeds,”a distraught Ahmed told Radio Ergo.
The village had 28 boreholes, dug by the farmers for irrigation purposes using water pumps, but they all ran dry following persistent drought.
Ahmed said the water in the village is now extremely scarce, with residents going to fetch clean water from Yakoyako locality 70km away. A barrel of water sells at between $3 and $4.
“The villagers are drinking water from the drying reservoirs just 10km away from the village, where people and wild animals share the water,” he said.
Amina Ibrahim Nur, a mother of 11 children, lives in Timir village.
She has been farming for the last six years. The crops on her farm withered away when her borehole dried up.
Amina’s children dropped out of school after she failed to raise school fees.
She is struggling to settle a debt of $1,500 for money borrowed for the farm inputs.
“I no longer have the ability to raise $10 to pay for my children’s fees so they are now at home. It is very difficult at this time to provide the basic needs for my family,” Amina said.
Another mother, Anab Hassan Mohamed, who has been farming for the last two decades, is counting huge loss after her guava and lemon trees dried up due to lack of water.
The family depends on farming for a living. When water was available, Anab used to earn around $300 a week from the sale of 100 kg of guavas and lemons.
“Now, we are dependent on the rain because the mercy of God is always available – but everything has dried up,” she said.