(ERGO) – Abdihakin Duhul Hassan suffered three waves of devastating attacks by locusts on his small farm in central Somalia’s Dusamareb and had almost given up on the land.
The last time his crops were stripped by the locusts was in November 2020, just a month before he was due to harvest his two hectares.
After months of hardship and living on food taken on credit, he planted again on 5 April after receiving training and inputs from International Rescue Committee (IRC).
The two-week training and free tools and seeds were given to 175 farmers affected badly by locusts in Dhusamareb, Adado and surrounding villages.
“I gained a lot of knowledge from the training. I learnt how to farm different crops and till the soil in the Jilal season,” he said.
“I received grain seeds, green vegetable seeds, a hoe, a fork, a shovel and a wheelbarrow.”
Abdihakin has accumulated $670 in debt at a local shop, which he hopes to repay once he harvests his farm.
The head of the IRC project, Aways Mohamud Hassan, told Radio Ergo that they trained the farmers on how to divide their harvest to save some of the crops for the months when they have nothing else.
“Crops such as maize and sorghum can be stored for future use, but vegetables are highly perishable. So we advised the farmers to sell such crops and save some of the money for the dry season,” he said.
The project aims to boost agricultural production in this part of Galgadud region. Ten bee farmers from Balli-cad in Dhusamareb were also trained for two weeks on bee-keeping methods and how to protect their bees from their neighbours.
“We chose the 10 bee farmers from a group of practising beekeepers. We gave them beekeeping boxes and protective suits,” said Aways.
Burale Adan Adawe lost the crops on his two and half hectare farm in Gidhays to the locusts in the last three harvesting seasons. He has been working as a labourer in construction sites in Adado 10 km away since the end of 2020 to sustain his family.
Burale also received farm tools and seeds that he planted on 5 April. He told Ergo he hopes his farm produce will sustain him and his family so that he will not have to return to labouring.
“I believe these crops will help me once I harvest and sell them in the market. I will save some of the earnings or even return some of it to the farm as an investment,” said Burale.
“I have high hopes with these crops.”