Agriculture Programme – Somaliland
In Somaliland, the majority of farmers utilise traditional farming techniques characterised as low input and low output. The Foundation’s approach for improving agriculture production and productivity is multi-pronged. While we try to conserve top soil and stop erosion with soil bunds, we also train farmers in modern agricultural practices such as improved farming techniques, improved seeds, fertilisers, compost making and pesticides. We also introduced drip irrigation through the establishment of demonstration sites at Botor and Ilinta.
Soil bunds are among the most common techniques used in agricultural conservation to collect and retain surface water run off that enhances soil moisture, revives soil fertility and optimises agricultural productivity.
With the objective of increasing agriculture productivity and reduce soil erosion, The Pharo Foundation partnered with Botor, Ilinta and Ilma Dado communities in the construction of soil bunds. The project started in late 2017 and has been implemented in different stages. With active participation of the communities where they offer manual labour services, a total of 193km of soil bunds have been constructed in the three villages, reducing soil erosion and retaining moisture for more than 1,070 farmers along the contours.
Introduction of Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is an alternative to mitigating the impact of climate change that is causing poor and erratic rainfall patterns. In order to introduce the technology to the programme participants the Foundation established two demonstration sites in Botor and Ilinta villages in 2018.
The first cohort of 58 farmers trained for a period of six months in good agriculture practices, as well as water-harvesting techniques using irrigation ponds and the installation of drip irrigation system.
After graduation, trained farmers were provided with drip irrigation kits in the form of grants and microfinance loans and with a precondition that they dig their own 150m3 irrigation ponds to qualify. Subsequently all 58 farmers prepared their own ponds and benefited from the grant and loan scheme.
Despite many challenges faced by farmers such as the shortage of rain and pest damage, it is evident that the first drip irrigation project has significantly increased production. Feedback from farmers indicates that agricultural production has increased significantly due to the availability of irrigation water in the pond and the drip irrigation technology ensuring better use of water resources.
By planting cash crops such as onions, carrots and cabbage, a sample of farmers showed that they were able to increase their incomes 3-5 times in a single harvest season.