Mogadishu, Somalia. October 25, 2023
The African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) has officially launched the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) Project in Mogadishu Somalia. This is the 3rd country to officially launch the project.
The inception workshop and assessment for the RAFFS Project will address the critical challenges posed by the triple C crises, including Covid-19, Climate Change, and the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine. These crises have had severe impact on livestock losses, particularly in the greater Horn of Africa, which has affected livelihoods, incomes, and the affordability of essential livestock-sourced foods.
In Somalia, livestock is a cornerstone of both household and national wealth. The pastoralist production system, which is export-oriented, serves as a source of income and resilience for communities. The livestock industry also plays a significant role in food security, as meat, milk, and other animal products are crucial sources of nutrition in the country.
Somalia has been grappling with the effects of its third consecutive below-average rainfall season since late 2020. Severe water and pasture shortages have resulted in emaciated livestock, excess livestock losses, limited livestock births, and significantly below-average milk production across all species.
The drought has had a widespread impact on livelihoods. In pastoral livelihood zones in Southern, Central, and North. Eastern Somalia. Households continue to face challenges in affording food and water due to livestock production losses, high water and cereal prices, and conflict. This has led to emaciated livestock and significant livestock deaths, severely affecting both local and export markets.
The country further faces challenges in estimating the amount of animal feed available, making it difficult to predict quantity. Somalia primarily relies on free grazing range lands for livestock feed. The use of synthetic animal feed and feed supplements is uncommon, and there is a scarcity of commercial animal feed manufacturers in the country.
Other challenges facing Somalia's livestock sector include poor infrastructure, limited funds for institutional and human resource capacity building, inadequate technology transfer into the livestock sector, security issues, and deforestation due to charcoal burning. Additionally, the scarcity of commercial feed companies and challenges related to feed and fodder production pose significant obstacles to improving food security.
The government is putting in place strategies to help address these challenges. This includes regenerating damaged rangelands, minimizing charcoal burning, increasing fodder supply through the distribution of fodder seeds to small-scale farmers, and boosting commercial animal feed production. The country has initiated the National feed assessment activities to enhance resilience among pastoralist communities. The RAFFS project is set to generate crucial data, including an Animal Feed inventory and Feed Balance sheet, Animal Feed security assessment, and a Predictive Livestock Early Warning System (PLEWS). These tools will help in predicting and mitigating the impacts of drought on livestock and food security in the country.
Capacity building for all fodder producers in good fodder practices, business management, planning, production, and financial record-keeping will be part of this week’s assessments. The importance of knowledge sharing among countries to facilitate knowledge transfer, especially in fodder production and the value chain.
The launch of the RAFFS Project in Somalia is a critical step in addressing the challenges faced by the livestock sector and promoting food security in the region. The inception workshop will serve as a platform for stakeholders to collaborate, share insights, and develop strategies to address the challenges posed by the triple C crises. AU-IBAR and its partners are committed to working together to build resilience, ensure sustainable livelihoods, and provide support to communities affected by these crises.
Just like in Uganda and Nigeria, African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N) Somalia chapter has been officially launched. AWARFA-N was launched in July 2018, supported by the AU-IBAR and funded by the European Union. AWARFA-N consists of continental, regional, and national chapters, focusing on empowering women involved in animal resource value chains.
Women in the livestock sector face significant challenges, primarily related to their limited access to suitable, long-term financing solutions tailored to their specific needs. These challenges are not confined to a single region but resonate globally, impacting the livelihoods of women who serve as the cornerstone of resilience in our societies. Their multifaceted roles in reproduction, nurturing, caregiving, and productivity play a pivotal role in driving individual, household, and community income. They are instrumental in promoting economic expansion, ensuring global food security, and enhancing the overall well-being of our children.
AWARFA-N’s mission is to empower women across animal resource value chains on a global scale. This initiative encompasses various aspects, including feed and fodder, with women aspiring to transcend subsistence livestock-keeping and embark on diverse commercial ventures at different scales.
AU-IBAR operates as a technical office within the African Union Commission, with a core mission to support African Union member states in harnessing the potential of animals for human well-being and economic development. The organization plays a pivotal role in coordinating and advancing livestock development across the continent.
Note to Editors:
For additional information, please visit AU-IBARs website on RAFFS
For more project information contact Dr. Sarah Ashanut Ossiya - firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Ahmed Elbeltagy - email@example.com
For communications and media inquiries, contact Fiona Imbali- firstname.lastname@example.org