The chronic and persistent shocks including political instability, conflict, civilian displacement, cyclic droughts, floods, disease outbreaks and extreme inflation in Somalia have eroded the ability of most households to cope with crises. In addition, Somalia depends on commercial food imports and food relief programmes for more than half of the cereal requirements to feed its population.
Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy and the basis for the livelihoods of the largely pastoral and agro-pastoral population. The export of live animals, hides and skins and chilled carcasses generates the foreign currencies needed for importation of food items. Livestock marketing and trade also generate important revenues for local administrations, through taxation of livestock destined for domestic and export markets. However, the terms of trade between livestock commodities and imported foods deteriorated due to soaring food prices, thus creating additional pressure on poor livestock producers to sell more animals and animal products to procure the same amount of imported foodstuffs. Uncontrolled livestock disease outbreaks also cause heavy production losses with negative effects on the poor and on their nutritional and health status.
On 10th August 2009, AU-IBAR, on behalf of the African Union Commission signed with the European Union a 4.0 million Euro - 24 months Financing agreement for a contribution by the European Union under the Action entitled: "Food Facility, EC-AU-IBAR II, Somalia" for the implementation of "Livestock Emergency Intervention to Mitigate the Food Crisis in Somalia" (LEISOM) project, which specifically aims to reduce the negative effect of soaring food prices on Somali pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
The Livestock Emergency Intervention to Mitigate the Food Crisis in Somalia (LEISOM) is thus a joint initiative of the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the European Union under the EU Food Facility.
- Productivity of small ruminants increased through enhanced animal health status in the pastoral production systems in Somalia.
- Performance of Livestock marketing system improved through rehabilitation of infrastructures and improvement of their management systems.
- Livestock keepers (250,000 households – 1,500,000 people)
- Livestock traders (5,200 market operators benefiting from infrastructure development)
- Associated industry operators (such as animal handlers/attendants and truckers)
- Veterinary authorities/Ministries of Livestock
- Private veterinary professional associations (172 animal health workers involved in vaccination activities)
- Local authorities/municipalities, 2,200 workers employed on construction sites
Modalities for implementation
The overall implementation of the Project is coordinated by AU-IBAR in close partnership with the Somali Veterinary Authorities, relevant private sector actors and four international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with a long history of engagement in the Somali livestock sector namely Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), Terra Nuova, VETAID and Veterinaires Sans Frontieres – Germany (VSF-Germany).
To facilitate field activities, AU-IBAR concluded contract agreements with each of the NGO Implementing Partners by 12th February 2010. Preparations are now underway to initiate field activities in March 2010.
A project Steering Committee has been established to provide the overall guidance on policy and strategy for the effective coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the LEISOM Project. The Steering Committee will meet at least once every six months under the chairmanship of the Director, AU-IBAR or his designated representative.
A Visibility and Communication Plan was prepared and received input from the EU Somalia Operations Unit. This will guide the creation of widespread public awareness within and outside Somalia on the objectives, activities, results and outcomes of LEISOM.