Rebuilding Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture in Somalia

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Following more than two decades of civil war, Somalia has made important progress in recent years with the establishment of permanent political, economic and security institutions. This points towards a future with stronger prospects for peace and for economic and social development. Agriculture remains key to the livelihood of half of Somalia’s population that still lives in rural areas. It is also key to the country’s food security and economic growth prospects. We are thus proud that the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) collaborated on this important report to assist Somalia in implementing the 2017–19 National Development Plan and to inform its forward policy planning and programming and that of its development partners.

The report canvasses all available information to document how Somalia’s livestock and crops subsectors have been buffeted by deteriorating water and transport infrastructure, persistent insecurity, weak regulatory and enabling institutions, and severe environmental degradation of the country’s rangelands and forested areas. Widespread losses to assets, income and livelihoods stemming from the current drought attest to the sector’s acute vulnerability to extreme weather events and Climate Change. Moreover, coastal fishing has remained artisanal and, in the absence of effective regulations and monitoring, foreign commercial vessels have engaged in both legal and illegal harvesting. Despite these and other challenges, this report highlights why there is cause for optimism in the sector’s growth prospects. Somalia’s landmass encompasses vast tracts of arable land and a variety of agroecological zones conducive to agricultural expansion. There are large areas suitable for livestock grazing, browsing, and fodder production to support the country’s growing markets and export trade; others with fertile alluvial soils for staple cereals, oil seeds, legumes, and horticulture crops. Its forests provide prized gums and resins for both export and local markets and charcoal for cooking.

The country’s waters are home to a diverse range of valuable reef and pelagic marine species. With better monitoring, management, supportive public investments, and an enabling environment, the livestock subsector can become more resilient, improve the quality of its animals, and enhance the safety and value added of its products; the crop subsector can recover and surpass its remarkable pre-war production and export levels; and both coastal and offshore fisheries can contribute more meaningfully to sector growth.


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