Archive for the ‘Somalia’ Category

Somali Ecological Society (SES): SES Achievements

May 19, 2011

The Somali Ecological Society (SES) was founded in 1983, and the Society is non-political and non-profit making. Prior to the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia , the organisation employed Reserve Guards, and Reserve Wardens, especially in Balcad Nature Reserve. In its early years conservation efforts focussed upon identifying and preserving remnant vegetation and wildlife habitats, which represent natural ecotypes indigenous to Somalia and Somaliland .

The Society also sought to achieve a greater awareness of environmental problems and to bring these to the attention of decision-makers, for appropriate actions.


SES Achievements prior to 1991

•  Establishment of Balcad Nature Reserve

Balcad Nature Reserve was the first site that Somali Ecological Society has supported to achieve Reserve Status (form August 1987). Establishment of the Reserve has been carried out with the considerable assistance of the National Range Agency (Under the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range.) The Objectives of the Balcad Nature Reserve were:

•  Protection of the remaining forests

•  Encouragement of the recovery of the ecosystem

•  Establishment of facilities for the study of wildlife and forest ecology

•  Provision of education and training opportunities.

•  The riverine forest was fenced to protect against further damage by    grazing and woodcutting.

•  Guards were employed to protect the Reserve.

•  Guard’s huts were built.

•  A nature trial was constructed through the forest, and a descriptive    guide written.

  • A campsite has been designed, and fire-pit built for cooking and cleared ground where meeting can be held.
  • Researchers have compiled a list of animals found at the Reserve.
  • An illustrated guide of the birds of Balcad Reserve was in preparation.
  • Hundreds of people have visited the Reserve for educational tours, bird watching, picnics, boat trips along the rivers, and camping trips.

Other SES Achievements prior to 1991

  • Aid given to the Somali Research Project ( University of London ) for their study and presentation on the remaining riverine forests Jubba Valley .
  • Assisted with a survey of four potential wildlife Reserves near Mogadishu , within 60 Kilometres.
  • Provision of a forum for a Scientist to present and discuss their findings by holding-meetings, open to the public once a month.
  • Regular publication of newsletter with information on – conservation problems and Somali ecological society activities


The outbreak of the civil war in Somalia and collapse of the former Government meant that all activities of the Society ceased, and many members fled the Country. However, members of the Somali Ecological Society, living in the UK, met several times from 1991-1995 to discuss and explore ways of re-vitalising, and re-launching the work of the organisation so as to resume its vital work in Somalia and Somaliland.

  • The first Annual General Meeting of the Society was held in January 1997, and over 60 people attended. As a result of that meeting the organisation now has a new constitution and a new management committee.
  • The new Management Committee put together a work programme including the possibility of sending two fact-finding missions to Somalia and Somaliland, respectively.
  • With the small grants from the Cuthbert Horn Trust, the Somali Ecological Society sent two fact-finding missions to Somaliland in August 1998 plus Somalia, including Puntland in December 1998. Both fact-finding missions were successful and revealed a great deal about the environmental problems facing the Somali people. Also, with the help of the small grant, a small office base was established in London with both Fax and telephone facility.
  • Since 2000, the SES established links with the former SES members in Somalia and Somaliland as well as outside the country. Further fact-finding missions saw SES members going into various regions and parts of Somalia and Somaliland .


  • Publication and distribution of the Somali Ecological Society newsletter
  • The Society’s, first major conference was held in October 1999 and over 40 people attended, including representatives from the international Aid agencies currently working in Somalia and Somaliland . The fact-finding reports were presented and information exchanged among individuals currently involved in the environmental and environmental related projects.
  • The Society has provided small financial assistance to SES members in Somalia and Somaliland to support their individual efforts in carrying out conservation activities.
  • The Society has been working with other SES members to prepare environmental conservation projects which is now possible under the current political situation in Somalia and Somaliland .

Mohamoud Omer Sh. Ibrahim
SES Chairman
March 2005

This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Ecological Society.

See on-line at:

Somali Ecological Society (SES): Somaliland SES

May 19, 2011

Our Chairman, Mohamoud Omer Sh. Ibrahim, visited the Somaliland SES during 2010 and brought back the following report. There is a link to the CV of the Solaliland SES Director at the bottom of this report.



Raising Public Awareness about the environment, and wise uses of natural resources

Mohamed eggeh Killeh
Executive Director,
Somaliland Ecological Society
September 2010



The Somaliland Ecological society is a non governmental, non-profit–making voluntary organization.

SES was founded 18 November 1996, and registered with the office of the attorney general, Ministry of Planning and National Guidance, Ministry of Livestock Forestry Range and Wildlife, and the Ministry of Finance as a non governmental, non profit making voluntary organization that is dedicated and engaged in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country’s deteriorating environment.

Mandate of SES:

Ensure environmental sustainability both marine and terrestrial environment. Integrate principal of sustainable development into the country policy and programmer’s advice government organization institutions and the general public on the principal of nature conservation.

SES Mission:

  • A SES mission is to achieve promotion of sustained environmental management and development in the region.
  • Eradication of poverty among pastoralists in the country through community based participation in their own development.



Combating land degradation and desertification caused by nature and human activities over grazing, poor land management; over–exploitation.

  • To raise environmental awareness among the grass – root and decision – making levels
  • To carryout research into the active environmental degradation
  • To reserve the current nature and man – made ecological ruin
  • To establish cooperation working relationships with other institution inside and outside the country who have similar objectives.
  • Find an alternative source of energy use instead of wood – fuel or charcoal burning
  • Strength environmental pollution control
  • Establish tree nurseries to rise tree seeding for reforestation programmes and amenity planting.
  • Identify and document globally important sites for breeding and roosting birds, turtle nesting beaches and man groves lagoons along the gulf of Aden Somaliland coastal zone

Objectives: Combating land degradation and desertification caused by nature and human activities – overgrazing, poor land management, over exploitation.

  • To raise environment awareness among the grass root and decision – making levels
  • To carryout research into the active environment degradation
  • To reverse the current nature and man made ecological ruin
  • To establish cooperative working relationships with other institution inside and outside the country who have similar objectives

Appeal: to attain this complex task which would benefit this nation as a fundamental element of peace, stability and sustainable, development calls upon the international community, the UN and its specialized agencies, AU and other region organization. To extend assistance and support SES both moral and practical, in order to establish close cooperation.

Threats of environmental issues

Thirty years before the turn of this century the north east corner of the continent, the Horn was still one of the world’s most interesting and prolific wild–life regions an area where the contrasting. Beauty of the mountain, steppe and plain of Africa was enhanced by varied and interesting flora and fauna which the hand of man had laid only lightly.

To day, particularly in the two northern states of Somaliland and punt land, large areas have been devastated by gross over–stocking which has caused the destruction of the vegetation for charcoal burning and exposure of the land to erosion. The habitat for wild – life has been destroyed over large areas and humans with their domesticated animal’s wildlife and charcoal burners compete for the remaining forage and forests.

To put the above in simpler comprehensive way “the environment is affected by natural factors and man’s activities as he seeks to ensure his well–being in essence these activities may be called the process of development, when the process is such that it take’s into account also of the effects on the environment and provide for the well–being and vitality in a sustained manner it constitutes management of the environment (UNEP 1978).

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise but a foolish man spendeth it up “proverb ch.21.V.20 (Mario pagans, 1969 – SOS planet earth” the above descriptions and proverbs are all applicable to Somaliland and are the most prevailing constraints in the country to protect biodiversity in our country.

SES Main Area of Operation:

  • Prevention of soil erosion
  • To make tree planting an income generation activity for woman
  • To produce enough food
  • To encourage self – employment
  • To raise public awareness of environmental and development issues
  • To involves the youth
  • To save indigenous trees, shrubs fauna, avifauna and other flora
  • To address the problem of poverty and promote household food – security
  • Gender equity through women development and empowerment.
  • Conservation of living marines resource


SES Structure:

1. Board of Trustee
2. Executive committee
3. chairperson
4. Executive Directors

Source of Funding:

  • Contribution from members of SES
  • Grants from the international and regional donors and supporters
  • Fees from services provided and consultancy to community and other institutions
  • Support from the Somali Ecological society (UK. London)


SES Track record:

Since its creation 1996, by a group of committee nature lovers and experienced local environmentalists who have a profound knowledge of the ecology of Somaliland SES have registered outstanding achievements in its campaign to raise the awareness of the local community on the importance of their natural heritage of nature, by doing so one strategy adopted was through the mass – media to convey its message to the people. Programmes were released frequently…

  • Hargeisa TV
  • Radio Hargeisa
  • B.B.C Somali service by poems reciting and awareness rising.


News letters:

  • Jamhuriya for 4 years in the vernacular
  • The republican for 4 years – English
  • The Somaliland times
  • The sub – Saharan informer
  • In workshop and seminars by discourse of environmental management poems speeches.

SES inculcated the masses of the people with positive attitude for the environment instead of people with indifferent attitude. The public and decision – makers are well aware of the needs to protect the environment. As a result many other organizations are now actively engaged in environmental management activities. SES is now prepared to take practical action orient steps at the grass – roots and your assistance is essential in order to protect nature.

SES is the pioneer to advocate raise environmental awareness and lobby at higher circles to protect nature.

Please Refer To the Attached List of Environmental Publication by SES for Environmental Awareness Rising

1. The Turn of the 20th century, its impact on wildlife of our country
2. The movement of environmental management in the horn of Africa
3. Protection and conservation of all basic natural resource
4. “Waayaha Daallo shalay iyo Maanta”
5. Nature amply provides for all of our needs
6. The status of Ostrich in Somaliland
7. When the present Somaliland was called British Somaliland
8. Ten days with PERSGA and the seabirds of Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia
9. The Globe is warming but don’t tell the Americans
10. workshops on Environmental Management
11. “Dhamal iyo Dhuxulaysatada”
12. Nature and man
13. natural Resources and their conservation
14. Near Extinction of the Big Cats has raised Biological Problems in Somaliland
15. Is the climate changing in Somaliland? These documents are all attached here

The beginning of Social and Water Erosion In Ga’an Libah
An Indigenous Early Account of Ga’an Libah (Adopted)

The following is the story of Ahmed Naleye, Habar Yunis, Muse Abdallah, Abokor Loge an old man who has lived on Ga’an Libah all his life. His age is now about 65years (1947). This story was recorded by P.E Glover and included in his unpublished work (Vol. 11. part 11, 1947), about 55 years ago many elephants lived on Ga;’an Libah. There was a herd of probably more than 200. Then one day the whole herd moved away in a body westwards. I would say this was 55 or 56 years ago for I was still a small boy from then until now, not a single elephant has returned. “[Swayne (1895) says that his brother shot a large tusker on Wagger where there a number of elephants. This would seem to confirm the old man’s story C, F, H.].

At that time every hollow had a permanent running, spring in it, and there was a luxuriant grass growth everywhere. Before my time, a people called the RAHAN WEIN, who now live in Abyssinia, lived here and made gardens. These people built a fort the remains of which can still be seen at Bagan, there were no other Somali tribes here at that time. Then after the RAHANWEIN had gone away, the ISHAAK tribes came here from mait and he is the HABRAWAL, still lived only on the coast.

When I was a small boy the open plaints, which are now covered with Chrysopogon aucheri var, quinqueplumis, Acacia etabaica and Acokanthera schimperi var, ouabaio were very small openings in the forest now only a few dead stumps show where the Junipers procera was. The Juniperus procera extended as far as the present kharia at Gerba keyleh. Now there is only little on the northern slopes. In the gully there was plenty of Juniperus prucera. Where the Acokanthera schimperi var, ouabaio is now is called wabile, there was Juniperus procera growing with it when I was a boy of about 10 years old, but it has all died out now. There was always a great deal of Acokanthera schimperi var, ouabaio there. The place where the Governor’s camp now is, called BALLEH, because a great deal of water used to accumulate there after rain, where the water–hole is now. Was called kab–on and there was a permanent spring of running water there. The waterhole now called ONEIMEDU consisted of one well only. Three men handed water up from the bottom. This hole was made by us with iron bars, about six holes were made later, but all except two have been covered over by the wash of rain water. The waterhole where the big root of the focus is near the coffee shop was called GUROH and was once a permanent spring now it runs for a short time only. It is called GUROH, because it is so narrow.

Where the “Se’ed” (Syzygium guineense?) thicket is there was a large permanent swampy jungle called BIYO – ADO – BUK, but now only a few small water – holes remain the elephants liked that place very much.

When I was a young man there was a great deal of fighting among the tribes here, and the OGADEN used to raid stock right down into the GUBAN, they raided and killed a number of stock and LAFERUG, was their headquarters, the road they took down to the GUBAN is called FURDOH, they accumulated big mounds of bones because they used to break bones for the marrow.

When I was a young boy people called the SULAH GUDUB lived on GA’AN LIBAH they were called that because they were a mixture of HABR YUNIS, KASSIM–ISAHAK, ARAB RER ADAN and ARAB AHMED ABDULLAH. These people used to raid from here to JIGJIGA and HARAR.

About 50 to 60 years ago, before the Somalis had rifles, they used to burn large patches of the forest to drive out the lions which were very numerous, that is how a great mainly trees were killed out. This practice had been going on for a very long time, but stopped after the Somali people were able to get arms. When I was a young man GA’AN LIBAH, was one of the best grazing areas in the country, but now there is no much stock here, and there are so many people, that nothing is left and everything has been ruined.

When I was a boy there was no erosion where now there is a large patch near WABILE also at DERE-MARAH, where there is very bad erosion now, there was none, and that part of the country was densely covered with Acacia atabaica and A. nilotica sub–species pleiocarpa. All this erosion started 10 years after I was born. A very heavy, Gu’ rain fell one night which was called “Dig Wein” the people in BURAO called it ”Dogob-jibeye” because there was such a volume of water. All the wells were washed out in BURAO, this rain fell only for one night. That is when most of the erosion in the country was started. The plain near the GORE coffee shop on the BURAO road, which is now bare was covered with trees and good grass, but all the trees and grass were washed away.

In the old days when I was young. Only cows were kept on GA’AN LIBAH no other kind of stock come here, my father told me that before my time there were cattle and gardens here. When I was young the plains around were full of hartebeest, Oryz “Aul” and “Dero” and in the bush were numbers of Greater Kudu, there are still a few kudu but there are no Oryx or Hartebeest left, they were shot out by the local tribes when they were able to get arms, and by European hunters, “(Interpreted by Hussein _ Weid, Habar Yunis, Musa Arreh, Native Names of Plants replaced by Latin Names by the author).

“The above account reflects the continuous Deterioration of Environmental Challenges in Somaliland”

Some Projects Implemented by SES

The Project Function Under Food for Work not Cash Money

Click here to see a table of activities – in PDF format.


SES Challenges of Natural Resource Management is lack of:

1. Policy, Legislation and Plans:

a. There is no officially adopted or implement forest, range and wildlife policy for Somaliland in existence at present, and the awareness of the need for a definite programme is increasing for the last 10 years in higher circles of the government. However, therefore the main grass – root challenge is mainly inherent in lack of policy, legislation and plans, implementation.
b. Lack of alternative source of energy is the main cause of forest destruction 99%, of energy use is from charcoal, traders in the country in which wildlife perish for lack of shelter.
c. Over – grazing gully erosion, soil and water erosion are depleting livestock grazing lands in the country to a large extent.

Long term objectives combat it:-

a. Creating and managing sufficient forest reserves like”libaahley” mountain of Dayib “juniper forest” and others.
b. Establishment of plantations to supply what the indigenous forest’s can not supply.
c. Making some watersheds protective forest reserves.
d. Creating reforestation, watershed areas.
e. Establishing or rehabilitation of existed forest nurseries in regional level.

2. Range:

  • To Establishing or re – establishing sufficient grazing reserves where necessary or possible.
  • To educate the public on the proper principles and application of range management
  • To reverse capability of the land and the reproduction of the plants by enclosing large range areas in the form of famine reserves.


3. Wildlife:

  • Preserve the wildlife of this country in such a manner which facilitates the perpetual continuity of the wildlife in variety and number.

a. By creating game parks where possible, sanctuaries and orphanages to ensure the continuity of wild game population with in the limitations of the natural environment.
b. By creating facilities where people could satisfy their educational needs as well as natural curiosity.
c. To find ways and means of arresting the extinction of unique and rare animals indigenous to the country.
d. Create an effective and capable organization to work towards the attainment of the above goal.


The Somaliland Ecological Society (SES) is very much interested in Marine ecosystem conservation.

In reference to (PERSGA), the Regional Organization for the conservation of the environment of the Red sea and Gulf of Aden, there are many offshore in Somaliland’s Coastal waters.

Aibat and Sa’adadin Islands, (PERSGA) 2001, not only the largest coral reef area in the Gulf of Aden, but also including a fascinating area of low-lying mangrove islands, salt marshes and swamps, a very important site for nesting sea birds and probably also for turtles.

Threatened Marine Shrimps are over harvested in off-shore Islands and Coastal SLagoons



The Somaliland SES has been active in promoting the wise use of natural resources through a national TV. Radio, public meeting and organizing workshop, but due to lack of funding it has relatively small NGO unable to progress further, especially in the past couple of years. However, with the help of small funds from UK based Somali Ecological Society, we have been able to re-launch our organisation, and managed to rent again small office base from September 2010. Somaliland SES co-founding member used to member of the now UK based Somali ecological Society and hence when the organision was set up it was used and similar name, with a view to making it affiliated to it in the long term.

Our organisation has provided a great deal of support the recent fact finding mission by the chairman of the UK based Somali Ecological Society (SES), and the two organisations agreed to work together more effectively and co-ordinate their work . Furthermore, Somaliland SES have formally requested support from the SES with fund –raising issues, as well as technical expertise from UK, and the two organisation signed memorandum of understanding about key areas of priority for action in Somaliland such as the urgent need for alternative energy to protect the remaining natural forests and woodlands, protection of wildlife, the need for re-establishing forest reserves and re-establishment of forest nurseries in all major towns.

This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Ecological Society.

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Somali Ecological Society (SES): Overview of SES

May 19, 2011

The Somali Ecological Society (SES) was founded in 1983, and the Society is non-political and non-profit making.

Prior to the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia the organisation employed Reserve Guards and Reserve Wardens, especially in Balcad Nature Reserve.

In its early years conservation efforts focussed upon identifying and preserving remnant vegetation and wildlife habitats, which represent natural ecotypes indigenous to Somalia and Somaliland. The Society also sought to achieve a greater awareness of environmental problems and to bring these to the attention of decision-makers for appropriate action. Former members of the SES, both Somalis and UK nationals are active within SES today.

Objectives of SES

•  Help preserve the biological diversity of Somalia and Somaliland and promote wise and sustainable use of natural habitat

• Increase the awareness and the respect of Somali people for their environmental heritage through education;

• Promote research into Somalia’s and Somaliland’s environment;

• Promote communication among all groups and individuals involved in environmental work in Somalia and Somaliland;

• Promote and carry out consultation, surveys, and research aimed to increase the awareness of the Somali people and their interested parties in relation to the environmental issues;

• Provide representative Group that will act and speak on behalf of the Somali people increasing their awareness and knowledge of the environment heritage of Somalia and Somaliland through training and education;

In particular the Society wishes to identify, protect, and maintain the best examples of ecosystems and endangered/endemic species in Somalia and Somaliland for use in research and education.


This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Ecological Society.

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Somali Center for Water & Environment (SCWE) – About Us

May 19, 2011

Somali Centre for Water & Environment (SCWE) is a non-profit,
non-governmental organization. Being a research and awareness raising
organisation with emphasis on the environment and water issues in Somalia,
SCWE is formed by a group of Somali intellectuals based in Stockholm, who are experts in the field of water and environment. Established for Working for Better Environment & Water Improvemnet Through Research, Development and Awareness Raising.

Somalia, a Horn of African nation and state that has been self-destruction through civil
war, has allowed its environment to degrade to a level that can’t be described in
words. One unfortunate anguish that will face Somalia is the damages that have been
done to the nation’s natural environment. Both local people and outsiders are
responsible for the damages, which are unprecedented & unimaginable and seems
unmanageable, even long after a solution is found for the current political crisis.

Some of the ongoing environmental abuses & concerns
that are experienced in Somalia and many other parts of the world include:

* Water pollution which causes human health problems;
* Misdisposal of wastes i.e. solid and liquid, contaminating land and water resources;
* No secure and safe access of water source provided, due to hydroclimatical
reasons and lack of technical development;
* Devastating river flooding resulting substantial destruction;
* Recurrent droughts severely affecting the people, animals and the natural environment;
* These natural disasters i.e. floods and droughts affect the lives of the people and
their animals as well as their properties without prediction and protection.
* Merciless poaching and hunting wildlife which are already threatened them to extinction;
* Unprecedented and alarming rate of deforestation for charcoal making leading to
desertification and soil erosion;
* Overgrazing beyond the carrying capacity of the land;
* Movement of sand dunes threatening the farming land;
* Dumping of hazardous wastes from industrialized countries in the Ocean and the
mainland with long-term scaring effects.

Somalia, in the face of these life-threatening activities, is not only a politically
disintegrated country, but also environmentally polluted. As they bankrupt natural
resource of present and future generations, these ongoing indiscriminate toxic waste
dumping, deforestation and water pollution will definitely affect the lives of the people,
who lack both social & political stability, economic capacity, financial & human
resources and institutional framework to handle the crisis. Despite of these major
concerns, no national environmental agency has ever existed in Somalia.

Somali Centre for Water & Environment (SCWE)’s objectives
could however be summarized as follows:

* to collect and archive all data about the nation’s environment including water issues;
* to conduct research and study describing environmental degradations resulted
from the civil war in Somalia, in order to assess the damages done to the environment and water;
* to develop means and ways to protect the environment;
* to generate useful knowledge that guides policy formulation
* to increase the level of environmental understanding and awareness among
Somali people through dissemination of information & knowledge generated from research;
* to assist local people with the available resources in order to see them to solve
some of their basic problems related to water supply and environmental protection;
* to organize workshops and hold seminars on the Somali water and environmental issues;
* to produce and publish articles, reports and books on Somali water and environmental issues;
* to involve and engage the Somali youth people in Sweden in order to get them understand the environmental change of the globe in general and environmental degradation of their homeland in particular, and to contribute their integration and education process in Sweden.

* Apart of these objectives, the SCWE was established to contribute to the Somali community in Sweden, particularly the Somali youth groups in Stockholm to get more information and increase their awareness in the field of water and environmental issues in the world.

SCWE will carry out these activities in close contact & cooperation with other international and local NGO’s with similar objectives and state agencies when established.

SCWE, raising Somali people’s awareness in their environment particularly in their
time of greatest need, call for all Somalis and nature-loving people to immediately end
the ongoing environmental destruction in Somalia and to help and support SCWE in
saving both the people and the environment of that poor war-ravaged country.

SCWE has established its main office in Stockholm and become affiliated to Mogadishu University in accordance with its original plan of action.

For further information contact the SCWE:

Abdullahi Elmi Mohamed

Tel: +46(0)8 761 3552, +46(0)70 752 2425 (mobile)


This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Center for Water & Environment (SCWE).

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Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Yeheb: An Endangered Multipurpose Shrub

April 14, 2011

Yeheb is a multi-branched shrub that grows only in the border area between Somalia and Ethiopia. Yeheb (Cordeauxia edulis Hemsley) belongs to the Fabaceae (Caesalpinioideae) and is the only species within the genus Cordeauxia.

An evergreen dry-land shrub, yeheb grows prolific bunches of pods that contain seeds of a nutritious food quality that the local people prefer to staple crops such as maize and sorghum. The tasty seeds with a thin easily cracked testa and a chestnut-like flavour, roasted, boiled for sweet liquor, occasionally eaten fresh, make an unusually nourishing and balanced food. The seeds are rich in energy containing 37% starch, 24% sugars, 13% protein, 11% fats and various minerals. The foliage supplies fodder for livestock and wild animals. The wood is used as firewood and more often as construction material.

Since few nutritious plants grow in yeheb’s native habitat, it is much exploited by animals and humans, causing slow or no regeneration. Yeheb is now listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

It is necessary to increase the efforts to domesticate yeheb in order to prevent its extinction and to develop its commercial benefits for the local people in the fight for poverty reduction and food security. Yeheb has remarkable commercial potential. Its tasty seeds with smooth consistency comparable to cashew, macadamia, pistachio or hazelnut would be marketable world-wide as a delicacy and it may also provide ingredients for medicine and food industries. The demand in markets – both local and international – exceeds the supply. The crop has a potential to be a valuable food in other hot, dry regions where the soils are poor and rainfall is low and erratic.

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

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Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Deforestation and Charcoal Export

April 14, 2011

Deforestation and charcoal export to Middle Eastern countries is one of the major causes of environmental degradation in Somalia. In recent years illegal cutting of trees to produce charcoal for export has become a booming business with considerable profits. Most of the charcoal is prepared in southern Somalia and exported through the ports in Mogadishu and Kismayo. Lack of local administration in the southern regions has exacerbated the problem.  Somaliland and Puntland experience the same problem but to a lesser extent. As a result of deforestation, land suitable for grazing is destroyed. This practice will inevitably affect the nomadic communities who entirely depend on grazing. Some of the most visible results of this action are extinction of wildlife and endangered crop species, soil erosion, soil degradation and an irreversible long-term impact on the agricultural ecosystems.

It has been noted that deforestation has several key drivers including the lucrative charcoal export trade and expansion of human settlements. Because of the lack of governance and rule of law there are several gaps in the fight against deforestation. Some NGOs are now shouldering the burden of protecting Somalia’s environment. These NGOs should be strengthened and supported in their causes and they should also co-operate in matters of mutual interest. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG), international community and the UN agencies should liaise with Somali charcoal exporters and other stakeholders to take credible action in stopping excessive deforestation for use in charcoal production.
This piece is taken from the website of the Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG).

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

April 14, 2011

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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Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Phosphorus as the Most Important Factor Limiting Crop Production

April 14, 2011

A study by SATG members has confirmed the role of soil phosphorus deficiency in limiting crop yields. Phosphorus was found to be the single most important factor determining crop yields in the Bay Region of Somalia. Experimental results obtained from sorghum and mungbean trials showed that crop growth and yield significantly increased between 100% and 400% when Triple Super-Phosphate (TSP) was properly applied. Similar results were obtained when animal manure was incorporated into the soil during land preparation. Phosphorus fertilizers were shown to promote early seedling vigour and crop maturity of both sorghum and mungbeans.

The subsistence nature of farming in the Dryland Agriculture of the Bay region is based upon the exploitation of soil nutrients using a sorghum monocropping system. The effect of this type of farming on soil degradation and nutrient depletion is widely reflected in the poor yields of both sorghum (the main crop) and other crops grown in the region. The availability of phosphorus to plants is determined by the soils’ ability to supply nutrients and by plants’ ability to utilize the supplied nutrients. Phosphorus deficiency impairs the normal crop growth and yield through complex biochemical and physiological mechanisms.

The application of phosphorus can therefore be expected to increase crop production and thereby alleviate the acute shortages of staple grain which currently affect Somalia. The study found that the ideal method of phosphorus placement was simple and cost-effective for farmers: placement of phosphorus directly into the hole with seed, using simple and affordable technologies such as Coca Cola bottle caps, was found to be more efficient than broadcasting the fertilizer. However, phosphorus management practices need to be continuously improved and evaluated. Given the importance of phosphorus for crop yields in Somalia, there is an urgent need for more research on its application and effect.

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

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Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Post-harvest and Grain Storage Losses

April 14, 2011

Agricultural production in Somalia suffers greatly from post-harvest and storage grain losses: average grain losses in Southern Somalia are estimated at 20 to 30% of the total harvest, and may exceed this figure in some cases. This loss is on the order of 50,000 to 80,000 tonnes per year, which translates to an economic loss of between US $15 million and $20 million. In addition to the economic loss, poor grain storage and handling practices can constitute a health risk, as improperly stored grain is vulnerable to moulds containing Aflatoxins, highly poisonous chemical compounds. These are losses and risks which the poverty-stricken agricultural communities of Southern Somalia cannot sustain.

Sorghum, a staple food crop in Somalia, is badly affected by grain losses of this kind. Sorghum growing farmers traditionally store grain retained for future consumption or trade in simple underground storage pits. Pests, rodents and other micro-organisms attack the grains in storage leading to depletion and deterioration in the grain quantity and quality. Moisture penetrates into the storage pits, resulting in fungus growth and Aflatoxin contamination. The resultant losses contribute to food shortages, and the Aflatoxin contamination represents a potentially fatal health risk.

In order to ascertain the exact causes of the losses, SATG conducted a baseline survey in the Bay Region to study the two grain loss high-risk areas: post-harvest handling practices and traditional storage systems. The survey reveals that grain losses associated with the traditional storage systems (underground pits) are significantly higher than those associated with post-harvest techniques (harvesting, transportation, and drying), at an estimated 40% and 20% respectively.

SATG has generated several solutions for the grain loss problems affecting Somali agriculture.

Rehabilitation of the old system: SATG has trained local farmers in fortifying the inner walls and floors of the traditional pit with cement, and using plastic lining to prevent moisture damage.

Introduction of a new system: SATG has adapted the design of a locally popular metal water-storage tank to create a metal grain silo which can easily be manufactured within the target communities.

Post-harvest and grain storage loss reduction is the target of an on-going project being implemented by SATG in collaboration with FAO.

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

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Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG) – Filsan Mungbean

April 14, 2011

Filsan is a superior variety of mungbean which is characterized by high yield potential, larger seed size, early maturity, and better cooking qualities compared to local varieties. It was originally introduced and tested at the Bonkaay Dry Land Agriculture Research Station, but after the collapse of the government in 1991 and the attendant collapse of those national institutions providing agricultural services, the plans for the introduction of Filsan at scale level were shelved. Filsan seed became mixed with local varieties and planting of the pure variety was no longer possible.

In 2002, SATG became involved in identifying the Filsan seed pedigree and tracing it back to its origins. SATG obtained a small amount of Filsan breeder’s seed from AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre) in Taiwan and began multiplying it at an experimental station in Minnesota, USA. Further multiplication took place in Kenya in 2004 with the support of ICRISAT. Finally, in 2005, SATG was able to repatriate 110kg of Filsan seed to Somalia for further increase and distribution.

SATG continues to test and promote Filsan mungbean in Somalia, including recently as part of its work on preserving plant genetic resources which is being carried out in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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

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