Doha: Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has launched he third phase of its integrated rural development program (IRDP) in three regions of Somalia.
The purpose of the program is to help the farmers and returnees to restore their livelihoods, by providing agricultural materials for the coming rainy season, as well as facilitating access to welfare services, by rehabilitating the agricultural, water, and education infrastructure.
The program covers the rural regions of Banaadir, Lower Shebelle, and Middle Shebelle, which suffer fragile economies, lack of services, and inadequate infrastructure.
After five years of intermittent rains, the drought weighed heavily on the traditional lifestyles of farmers and shepherds. What is more, the prolonged armed conflict undermined the living standards, production assets, and infrastructure, driving more than 400,000 people to city outskirts and camps.
In cooperation with partners and local community leaders, QRCS distributed agricultural input to 3,000 farmer families, such as seeds and hand tools. Other activities included land preparation, canal rehabilitation, subdivision, etc. Also, the farmers were trained in how to use ploughs, produce their own tools, and select and store seeds for the next season.
Over the course of the program, the staff performed assessment and follow-up to ensure the optimized use of agricultural input. By the end of the harvest season, each farm had produced 2-3 tons of crops. This amount is big enough for the family consumption over the year, with surplus that could be sold to purchase other needs like clothing.
Many farmers utilized the provisions very well, so they could meet the targets. To ensure food security, the families sell their own production and buy the kinds of cereals they do not have. This builds up the household cereal stocks by 40%. At the same time, QRCS built the capacity of local community, particularly the blacksmiths who make the traditional hand tools. Divided into groups, they were awarded a contract to make 6,000 hand tools.
In Bal’ad District, the iron makers attended technical and administrative training courses and held coordination meetings with other NGOs.