Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Improvement and Sustainable Utilisation for Plant Genetic Resources in Somalia

Food insecurity and food shortages are crippling consequences of civil unrest and the lack of governance institutions in Somalia. Agriculture-dependent communities in Somalia are in dire need of more productive crop varieties which can make up the shortfall.

Over the two decades since the governmental collapse, organizations interested in alleviating poverty and improving nutrition in Somalia have introduced several new varieties of key crops. However, none of these varieties were adopted by local farmers because they proved insufficiently adapted to Somali climactic conditions.

SATG has embarked on a project aimed at isolating those varieties which will perform best in Somalia. SATG cooperates with crop research centres and breeders to source the superior varieties, and then tests them in Somalia.

In the Gu season of 2009, SATG introduced several varieties of key crop species, including maize, sorghum, mungbean and groundnuts, from ICRISAT, CIMMYT, AVRDC and Western Seed-Kenya, and tested them for yield and agronomic performance. All new introduced varieties were compared to the locally-grown varieties by the farmers.

The variety trials for the evaluation of the new varieties and demonstration plots were conducted in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions of Somalia, and were carried out in collaboration with partners such as WFL, CEFA, and SAGRA. The outcome of these trials has been very encouraging, suggesting a role for these varieties in overcoming food insecurity in Somalia.

This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG).

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