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Prospects for agricultural water management
The long absence of a formal central government, conflict in the major agricultural production areas and the associated lack of investment are constraints on the rehabilitation/development of agricultural water management in Somalia. Due to continued civil war agriculture is now essentially subsistence agriculture, with limited opportunities for production for internal markets and virtually no capacity to produce for international markets. A recent study by the European Commission (EC) found no grounds for the rehabilitation of the once important banana industry on a competitive basis. On-farm investment is currently limited to essential needs.
As long as water management continues to be a localized affair, there remains little opportunity for developing effective strategies for flood management on the rivers. This in turn undermines the cooperation needed with neighbouring countries sharing the same water resources. Although emerging Somali authorities recognize the need and have identified the rehabilitation of the major flood control and irrigation infrastructure on the Juba and Shabelle rivers as a major priority, there is likely to be little progress until a strong central government emerges. Major investment opportunities, from donors or the private sector, therefore remain on hold.