Somaliland Investment Prospects for Agriculture
Prospects for agriculture development in our country has risen due to the growing Fruit and Vegetable market potentiality in the gulf region for instance, Gulf states import an estimated 5 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables annually, with a (statistical import) value of over 3 billion dollars. Among the Gulf states, the most important market is the United Arab Emirates, with a share of more than 40%, followed by Saudi Arabia with more than 30%, Qatar and Kuwait, both with just under 10%, and Oman and Bahrain. One of the major sources for these markets are Syria.
The above figures show that potentiality exists, for example a lot of countries in the gulf states who supply fruit and vegetables consumed in the gulf are either directly or indirectly affected by the war for example Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
There are new opportunities arising from the gap being provided by Syria as the country went to a civil war which has raged many of their farming regions. At this, Syrian investors want to lease thousands of hectares of farmland in Somaliland as part of their effort to diversify the source of fruits and vegetables to keep up with the market that they have in the gulf.
Nevertheless, Syrian farming heavy weights are coming to Somaliland because they are lacking enough land to cultivate fruits and vegetables due to the ongoing war in their country, and consequently, Syrian investors are thinking Somaliland may be the best destination for them to run agriculture production. To this end, They are ready to contract with local farmers to lease land for a specific period of time. Upon finishing the contract, they will leave behind full fledged farm that can be sustained. In return Somaliland farmers will receive skills and technologies to produce good quality fruits and vegetables.
In that respect, Syrians will bring money, technologies and expertise and cash to produce fruits and vegetables locally for export to the gulf countries. They have got the means to arrange transportations required to deliver the products. The only condition for them to start the business is to get either used cultivable or unused cultivable land to cultivate above mentioned. In the long run the Somaliland government and its people will benefit money, expertise to run such a huge business that will turn our farming into real business. It is hoped that the new arrangement will increase food productivity and enable the country’s economy to grow fast and expanding agriculture graduates to be deployed in the Somaliland farming sector. Basically, this idea is mainly for proper management of our food security.
Furthermore, Somaliland needs to benefit from this deal in different ways. First of all, we need to get jobs for young agricultural graduates. Secondly, to raise the quality of our crops and production. Thirdly, to increase the level of knowledge of our farmers. Another significant point is that we should bring here in Somaliland the Syrian farming expertise and technologies to raise the standard of farmers and economy as a whole.
The country is cultivated only 5% percent of its arable land and is not self-sufficient in food and most of our foods are imported from foreign countries. Foreign direct investment help Somaliland government and its people will benefit not only money, but expertise to run such a huge business that will turn our farming into real business. Somaliland government should also offer tax-free arrangements for agricultural investments in the country to encourage foreign direct investment.
I suggest that government alone is unable to provide the needs for the sector so we need to tap foreign direct investment to raise money for helping our own small scale farmers and to feed local people..
Finally, my advice to the government of Somaliland is to strengthen the MOA hierarchy with professional people who are able to create a suitable environment for investors and MOA together with the chamber of commerce are needed to take on the responsibility of attracting the potential investors in the sector and also make easy for the rules and regulations governing foreign investment and also welcome for anyone interested to do business in Somaliland.
Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi