Political Turmoil in Ethiopia Exposes Lack of Agricultural Policy in Somaliland                                  

Borama ( PP Features ) —  The Political turmoil in Ethiopia has had an impact on the vegetable prices in Somaliland. Awdal vegetable traders import vegetables and fruits from Oromia, the centre of uprising in Ethiopia following the assassination of the singer Hachalu Hundessa in Addis Ababa two months ago.  

Sheikh Mohamed Saeed Saaweer of Borama recently urged locals to learn from the episode of vegetable and fruits shortage in the city and  till the land. “ Our land is fertile. We have to devote time and resources to our agricultural sector. It took only a political unrest in Ethiopia to result in a surge in vegetables and fruits prices” said Sheikh Saaweer.

Somaliland Vision 2030 rhetoric: Agriculture is a key sector in Ethiopia.

According to the Somaliland Government “The agricultural practices of … farmers [in Awdal] remain relatively simple, using single pointed shafts for ploughing, and neglecting the potential advantages of fertiliser and extension work.”

Property and land prices in Awdal keep rising. Property speculators are behind the drive to extend construction planning to agricultural areas of Borame.  The decline of the agricultural industry in Awdal points to a Somaliland Government policy that attaches no importance to boosting agriculture in regions with a farming tradition.

Sheikh Mohammed S. Saaweer: Let us boost our agricultural productivity.

The low agricultural productivity in Somaliland stands in stark contrast to the lofty vision summarised in Somaliland National Vision 2030: “The key position of agriculture in the economy means that there remains a strong imperative to resource the development of the agricultural sector to raise the standard of living of the majority and ensure food security for the nation.” The swarm of locusts that swooped down upon farms in Somaliland exacerbates the situation of farmers forging ahead despite absence of a sound agricultural policy in Somaliland.

“Somaliland leaders pay lip service to agricultural development. We have a Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at Amoud University but we import what we can grow in our region and suffer when supplies stop” says Mohamud Ali, a trader in Borama.  “Our MPs hardly discuss human development issues. It is at the mosque where citizens air views on the impact of poor economic policies on society” says an economist who has decided to lobby MPs from Awdal for more investment for the agricultural sector.

Ironically Somaliland President Muse Bihi renamed the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Agricultural Development. If the agricultural underdevelopment in Somaliland is any guide, it leaves no one in doubt that Somaliland Government views agriculture as an economically less viable sector.

© Puntland Post, 2020