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How Somalia can benefit from IFAD and achieve food security?

by Mustaf Ishak Ali
Monday February 20, 2023

Recently, the IFAD’s 46th session of the governing council has come to an end in Roma, Italy. The conference focused on the discussion relating to the emerging food security crises in the world.

Russia –Ukraine war and the climate change crisis have tremendously impacted many African countries like Somalia, and immersed in unpredicted situations fueling the humanitarian crisis.

A looming Food crisis in Somalia

Food security is affected by numerous factors including inflation of food prices, climate change, population increment, and natural hazards.

So far, Initiatives and designing strategies to cope with the global food crises are at the top headlines in every day’s news, nonetheless, Somalia remains one of the poorest countries in the world as it experiences varying humanitarian and security complications. Precarious and consecutive failed rainy seasons have led to severe consequences that had adverse impacts on food insecurity including, undernourishment and malnutrition.

Projections indicate that by mid — 2023, almost half of the population in Somalia will be in severe food insecurity due to an unprecedented drought.

Meanwhile, the Integrated Phase Classification ( IPC) anticipates that in the period between January and March -2023, numerous people will face crises as levels of acute food insecurity increase up to 6.4 million of which 1.9 million will be in an emergency (IPC Phase 4) and 322,000 in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

IFAD resumption of agricultural investments in Somalia

To curb the food insecurity in Somalia, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) affirmed that it will resume its direct investment in Somalia against the backdrop of Somalia clearing its debt or arrears with IFAD through donor contributions from some EU countries namely: Sweden, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

Furthermore, IFAD stated that the reason behind its long absence of investment in Somalia was the outstanding arrears, justifying that the debt hampered Somalia to benefit from IFAD grants and funds for three decades.

At the session, the Somali president, his Excellency Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, praised and welcomed the decisive step of IFAD, stressing that this will help Somalia to transform from a humanitarian to a development phase.

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Somalia has a huge potential for natural resources. The agriculture sector plays a dynamic role in national economic development as the vast majority of the population relies on agricultural production.

The IFAD re-engagement of direct investment in Somalia will underpin the inflow of foreign investment and definitely, foreign firms and organizations will follow suit.

The arable land of Somalia mostly is permanent pasture and only about 1.5% is utilized for farming. However, this shows that the country is in pressing need of a huge investment that will be part of the recovery of Somalia’s economy and national development.

Having said that, the endeavors to transform the productive sector in the country will bring concrete results notwithstanding hindering factors that exist but tireless efforts by decision-makers will facilitate in overcoming those challenges.

Recommendations

Food security is a global issue as every country prioritizes addressing hunger, poverty, and health-related issues. In Somalia’s context, efforts have been extensively exerted locally and internationally toward achieving sustainable food security but for different combined impediments, still, no tangible progress has been achieved.

However here are some recommendations and suggestions that will backstop the strategies of boosting the agriculture sector to achieve sustainable food security in the country:

1. Prioritizing the agricultural sector by the government will bring concrete results

2. Enabling an environment for investment can attract countless investors.

3. Training and capacitating the farmers with required hands-on knowledge and skills.

4. Establishment of agricultural innovation hubs, schools, and institutes.

5. Since the cultivation of farms is practiced in rural areas, security issues should be solved.

6. Extension and research centers for agriculture are the main pillars of development in the agricultural sector.

7. Somali farmers are considered small-scale farmers and hence they are getting disappointed with farming because of some organizations that distribute food kits in the harvesting season and this led to abandoned farms.

8. Market and pricing policies should be introduced and implemented in a way that will motivate farmers to maintain their careers and in turn, increase agricultural production.

Last but not least, in every country, the government can’t attain any economic growth or development without investing and utilizing its natural resources, particularly in the agricultural sector, and thus the government should facilitate and remove any hurdles for farmers and investors to ensure sustainable food security because there are pillars for food security i.e. availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability.


Mustaf Ishak Ali
Researcher and Social Development Activist

[email protected]


 





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