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Mogadishu combats #ClimateChange with 500 new trees

Somalia's Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Hassan Gobobe, and FAO Somalia staff plant trees in Mogadishu to mark World Food Day.

Mogadishu, Somalia October 16th marks World Food Day, an opportunity for people around the world to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger within a lifetime. 

Our global message this year is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” In Somalia, we are demonstrating one simple way to help put a stop to this global crisis - tree planting! FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture for the Federal Government of Somalia spent the day planting 500 trees at schools and universities to raise awareness of climate's growing impact on food security. 

But what’s the connection? 

Trees provide food, such as fruits, nuts and leaves, as well as habitat and protection to plants and animals, increasing biodiversity. Strategic placement of trees in urban areas can cool the air by between 2° and 8°. Mature trees help to regulate water flow and improve water quality. A single tree can absorb up to 150kg of CO2 per year, sequester carbon and consequently mitigate climate change. And, by diversifying production and creating new income opportunities for farmers, it helps secure sustainable livelihoods and support national food security.

By putting climate smart agriculture (CSA) into practice, the people of Somalia can help themselves become food-secure and resilient against the effects of climate change. “Somalia has the land and resources to feed itself,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Hassan Gobobe, speaking from the capital, Mogadishu, “We need to develop sustainable agriculture policies that will lead Somalia out of hunger”.

Everyday, five million people in Somalia are without enough food to eat – that’s two out of every 5 people in Somalia facing chronic hunger. Among those are 300,000 children under five years of age suffering from food shortages and 50,000 severely malnourished. Over the last six months, food insecurity has increased by 20 per cent and the situation is expected to intensify.

The problem has been compounded by climate change, which has had a devastating impact on food security. Between April and June 2016 (Gu season), Somalia suffered its third consecutive season of poor rainfall. The El Niño, which ended in May, brought drought to many areas and excess rain to others, hurting harvests and causing food shortages. In southern Somalia, the country’s major crop producing region, cereal production fell by almost 50 per cent below the long-term average to just 65,000 tonnes. Farmers, pastoralists and fisher-folk in Somalia are among the world’s poorest being hit by an increasing frequency of droughts and high temperatures.

At FAO, we're working with Somali farmers to grow food in a sustainable way. This means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure and market mechanisms.

All this is achievable. Despite the setbacks, Somalia is doing better than it was pre-war period. In 2015, GDP was at $6 billion, which is six times the 1985 average of $1 billion. Significant growth in the agriculture sector has been a key factor in reducing the share of people living in poverty, it also proves that the people of Somalia are resilient. “Somalia is making incredible progress” said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Somalia. "And this is a great time to start believing Somalia can start feeding itself once again.” 

To find out what you can do to combat climate change, click here.


Chi Lael | FAO Somalia Communications | Chi.Lael@fao.org