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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Somalia

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Somalia

Dec 2012

Around 3.8 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the lasting effects of the 2011 famine, climate-induced shocks, conflict and political instability, compounded by lack of access to basic social services. Somalia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with over 43 percent of people living on less than USD 1 per day. Over the past two decades, conflict and political instability have caused massive displacement – 1.1 million displaced internally and 1 million living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Most have lived as IDPs or refugees for decades.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

One and a half years on from the 2011 famine, 2.1 million Somalis face an acute food insecurity crisis. An additional 1.7 million people are likely to slip into crisis if not assisted. Most are farmers, fishers and pastoralists.

Somalia is a food-deficit country – even good harvests meet only around 40 to 50 percent of national cereal requirements. The combined effects of low production and high global prices put food beyond the reach of the country’s poorest. As a result, commercial food imports and food assistance have been largely relied upon to fill the gap. In recent years, around 25 percent of the population did not have access to sufficient food. Many Somalis remain extremely vulnerable and are only one productive season or harvest away from resorting to extreme coping strategies. Agriculture is fundamental to stopping this devastating and unsustainable trend.

Recurrent drought was a major cause of the famine. The crisis depleted households assets – livestock perished or were sold, crops failed and many families left their homes in search of food. The situation improved significantly following massive humanitarian assistance combined with good Deyr rains in late 2011, which contributed to an exceptional harvest in 2012 and a boost to food security. However, poor rains during the 2012 Gu season resulted in low yields and many families could not fully recover. Agropastoralists in south and central Somalia, for example, have been unable to rebuild their livestock herds or repay debts incurred during the crisis, leaving them extremely vulnerable to future shocks.

Rural families face a multitude of day-to-day constraints that must be addressed, such as limited access to quality inputs, pasture and water. Inadequate veterinary services, and lack of pest and disease management services continue to cause livestock losses, which could otherwise be prevented. Moreover, production is not maximized due to lack of knowledge of, or means to apply, improved agricultural technologies. Environmental degradation, including deforestation, overfishing, overgrazing and soil erosion, is of growing concern. These constraints not only affect farmers, fishers and pastoralists, but have considerable spillover effects onto the entire population.

FAO response

Through a three-year strategy, the Food Security Cluster seeks to provide life-saving assistance and longer-term support to help food-insecure populations meet their immediate food needs, improve their livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks. Ensuring the participation of both men and women, FAO seeks funding to help farmers, pastoralists and fishers enhance their production by establishing producer organizations, distributing quality production inputs, strengthening extension support and providing training on sustainable production techniques.

To restore livestock production, access to water points and pastures will be improved, herds restocked and animal disease surveillance systems put in place. FAO also seeks to help families destock their animals, when appropriate, providing them with cash and meat.  Farmers will receive improved seeds, fertilizers, farming tools and agroprocessing equipment. Key infrastructure, such as irrigation schemes and feeder roads, will be constructed or rehabilitated through cash-for-work, which will provide short-term employment to poor families.

Through a joint project with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), FAO aims to assist voluntary returnees resume their livelihoods and thus better reintegrate into their communities. Both returnees and the local community will benefit from agricultural inputs and livestock packages, as well as quick impact projects at community level focused on restoring productive infrastructure or natural resources through cash-for-work.

The FAO Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project has made considerable strides in restoring water and land monitoring networks destroyed during conflict. In 2013, FAO SWALIM seeks to continue to maintain and develop water and land data collection and monitoring networks, and analyse this information for improved decision-making. Other proposed activities include establishing remote-sensed systems to monitor rehabilitation interventions (e.g. irrigation, roads and livestock water points). An internet-based platform will also be set up to share the information generated with key stakeholders, and continued support will be provided to strengthen national information management capacity (e.g. developing and equipping ministry data centres).

With donor funding, FAO will support the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster efforts to develop multiple-use water systems by assessing the potential for rainwater harvesting and recommending areas for developing these systems. Rainwater harvesting technologies suitable for Somalia’s different regions will be identified and guidelines developed for their use. In addition, a live map of water sources in Somalia – showing their location and functionality – will be developed and partners trained in its use.

Legend: FAO funding requests for Somalia from 2008 to 2013

The FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU) provides critical, updated and timely information on food security and nutrition in the country for improved emergency response and development planning. The FSNAU seeks to continue this crucial work in 2013 by conducting bi-annual seasonal assessments, monthly monitoring of the food security and nutrition situation, analysing trends and underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, and integrating food security indicators into nutrition assessments.