Somalia 2017 - Cash for food purchases today, seeds for food production tomorrow

Somalia 2017 - Cash for food purchases today, seeds for food production tomorrow
Jun 2017

Back-to-back failed harvests in 2016 pushed Somali farming families into an untenable position. Their much-reduced carry-over seed stores were quickly used up. Many went into debt to feed their families, buying food on markets. Others liquidated hard-to-replace assets. As the 2017 Gu planting season approached, vulnerable agropastoral households were stretched to the breaking point. With no cash for food and no seeds to sow, they faced a stark choice: stay at home and starve, or leave their livelihoods behind to seek relief elsewhere.

Ahead of Gu, FAO provided at-risk farming families with high-quality, locallysourced seeds so that they could get a crop in the ground – combined with ongoing cash payments to cover household food needs until their plants mature. FAO-selected, hardy- and drought-tolerant seeds are proving resilient to this season’s sporadic rains; beneficiaries of our cash+ interventions will see a harvest in July/August. Giving rural families a reason to stay home and plant – and the means to do so – has kept livelihoods intact, helped stave off famine, and is rebooting local food production.