Challenges and Opportunities of Agriculture Research in Somaliland

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Livestock herders near the central Somali town of Belet Weyne in the Hiiraan region. Photograph: Stuart Price/AU-UN IST/EPA
Livestock herders near the central Somali town of Belet Weyne in the Hiiraan region. Photograph: Stuart Price/AU-UN IST/EPA

The Aburin Agricultural Station was established as a center of Dryland agricultural research and training during the British rule of Somaliland With this are the Time line of Aburin Dryland Agri Research center:

 

1960               Aburin Research station continued to function as a substation and as a Dryland plus farmers training center.

1980               Aburin center was recognized as a Dryland Agri research and extension center for what used to be called North-west Agricultural development project (NWADP).

1990               Somali government collapsed due to civil war; Aburin center turned   out to be inactive and neglected

1996               Ministry of agriculture (MOA) together with International NGO’s and Local NGO’s realized some projects mainly training for farmers and germplasm collection.

2016               MOA and SDF revived the center as an agriculture Research and extension center.

 

The main objectives of Dryland Agriculture Research and extension Center in Aburin

 

  1. Capacity Building for Ministry of Agriculture Staff and University graduates whose objectives are :

 

  • To train ministry staff and farmers on crop production technologies including to that of  improved crop production methods, field plot techniques, basic statistics and experimental designs, integrated crop protection methods, improved soil management methods, extension and technology dissemination methods, survey methods, data collection, data analysis, and report writing.
  • To prepare the trainees to conduct agri research and properly disseminate crop production technologies to farmers.
  1. Agri Research
  • To conduct evaluation of varietal performance trials Sorghum, cowpea, pigeon pea and Millet varieties sourced from neighboring countries. The aim is to identify and select the best varieties for each crop in questionunder Rainfed conditionsOf Somaliland..

Similar Research projects are also ongoing in the areas of soil science and plant protection mainly in plant pathology and soil science.

  1. Agricultural Extension Activities

During the time we have been in Aburein we helped create farmer groups (FGs) who were making demonstration plots, meeting regularly in villages nearby Aburein. Those different extension activities were being micro-managed by the extension team based at Aburein. Without their encouragements and constant engagement such farmer group development activities would not have been possible. But now, extension activities with those established farmer groups are organized and run by their group leaders with minimal guidance from us.

 

Challenges

The center lacks the following facilities

 

  • Lack of Agri journals
  • Inadequate Research materials and equipment
  • Unsustainable project based Funding, which makes reliable funding of current research program critical.
  • Better management of Agriculture Research and Extension Center and taking advantage of the strengths of current team of Researchers/Extension and their high-level, competencies in the fields of agriculture and research and extension.

 

Opportunity

  • Interventions to address the above constraints are critically needed to advance agricultural productivity in general, and crop productivity in particular
  • Accelerated adoption of the most-promising available technologies so as to support immediate improvement of Somaliland production by linking research and extension systems to producers more efficiently
  • Technology delivery systems that quickly bring innovations to farmers and agribusinesses
  • Enhanced capability on the part of agricultural research systems to effectively and efficiently generate knowledge and adapt to Somaliland agri system situations. The new crops and varieties coming out of the research will boost production of farmer’s as well incomes thereby reducing poverty in rural areas.

Recommendation

  • Continued research activity is indispensable for agri development in the country.
  • The government of Somaliland should earmark budget to sustain the center. In addition, the contributions from private and aid organizations is very much needed for continued functioning of the research.
  • Without agriculture research, no agriculture development is impossible. Therefore, we need to sustain the existing agriculture research and establish substations in the regions of Somaliland. And that is only possible if the government provides or allocates budget to sustain the center.

 

Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi

Contact: Abdirahman270@gmail.com

 

 

 

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