The economy of Somaliland depends heavily on agriculture, which includes both livestock and crops. Agro pastoral communities in all regions of the country grow crops and simultaneously raise livestock to reduce vulnerability to environmental shocks such as droughts or even flash floods which have become more frequent during the last decade, due in part to perhaps climate change. A large part of the urban population also derives its income indirectly from agriculture as commodity traders or service providers to rural communities. Additionally, agriculture is a major source of government revenue. However, agricultural production in Somaliland is low due to the old farming techniques characterized by subsistence farming with extremely low incomes and hand-to-mouth livelihoods. Although agriculture is a dominant sector of the economy, it has failed to generate moderate and sustainable incomes for many farmers and has not accelerated development in other sectors, nor has it met national food needs.
The main reasons for this failure is that inadequate financial capacity and lack of expertise to formulate effective policy framework might have hindered in producing favorable policy frame work addressing the issue of low crop productivity. The problem can only be resolved if funding and expertise have been secured to formulate favorable policies that addressees both primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of production. Should these policies be implemented, the Government’s agriculture policies would have a positive impact in the following areas:
- Sustenance of agricultural production
- If it ensure that participants in the sector respect and meet set standards for the quality and safety of inputs into crop animal production and outputs from such production.
- If it ensures sustainable natural agricultural resources utilization and management
- If it ensures sustainable prevention and control of crop pests and diseases.
- If it Promotes and ensure fair agricultural trade practices
- If it Promotes internationally agreed Phytosanitary measures
- If it solves the real problems faced by the farmers
- If it removes implicit taxes, and market barriers and facilitate exports.
To this end; the institution in question has no essential policy framework despite its 28 year in history. Had sector policy been formulated and implemented, relative stakeholder institutions could have engaged in productive and profitable sectorial activities while at the same time ensuring that the interest and wellbeing of the general public are adequately addressed and protected. However, the following challenges need to be addressed:
a)Lack of commitment in formulating policy framework b) Inadequate collaborative policymaking c) Policies formulated at national level may face the challenge of ensuring some degree of consistency in delivery at subnational level d) inadequate financial and human resources.
It is in the need of the hour for Government authorities, first, to come up with a commitment to finance or seek funding to overcome the above-mentioned issues and, secondly, to restructure the concerned institution to keep up with the pace of infrastructure and technological change in order to put the ministry on the path to more efficient than ever to enhance the domestic crop productivity.
In the light of this, The Ministry of Agriculture Development has to enter with letter of Cooperation agreement establishing partnership with international donor agencies and other stakeholders in the sector for development in the areas of policy formulation and implementation to promote food security Programme, mechanization of agriculture, water catchments, feeder roads, promotion of seed production systems, marketing infrastructures, strengthening government capacities to reduce post-harvest losses and extension programmes enabling farmers to adopt new agriculture technologies for intensive farming systems.
Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi