Long term plans to boost agriculture and livestock

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Turks see the two industries as important for rebuilding Somalia’s economy

Turkey has taken a key interest in Somalia’s agricultural and livestock sectors. The country still provides humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in Somalia, but it is also pursuing a long term and sustainable strategy of helping to revive the agricultural and livestock sectors through training, implementation of new projects and provision of farmer’s support systems.

There is much agricultural and fisheries talk among the Turkish nationals in Somalia.

At Aden Adde International Airport, the General Manager, Bora Isiner, is concerned about the near insignificant traffic in cargo flights.

Currently, the airport handles two cargo flights a month from two airlines. Mr Isiner says that if only Somalia could have something that could be consistently exported, something like bananas or simsim, it would be good for the country.

Mustafa Adali, the man at the helm of Albayrak Mogadishu Ocean port, sees a lot of sacks of rice being trucked out of the port, signifying empty containers at the docks.

However, the containers go back empty. That’s bad business for the traders who still have to bear the cost of the return journey.

Adali really wants to fill up the containers and wonders why he can’t do so with livestock products, such as beef.

The vision that Turkey has for Somalia on the agricultural and fisheries sector can be described as grand. The idea is to systematically upgrade the two sectors with market changing, investor friendly and economically innovative reforms.

When the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, launched its operation in Somalia in 2011, one of the first three projects it initiated and saw through was the setting up and facilitation of an agricultural training programme where young men could be given short courses on crop growing and livestock rearing. Some
470 students benefited from these training opportunities.

Today, TIKA is constructing a faculty of agriculture near Afgoye. This will be a fully-fledged agricultural learning
institution.

Galip Yilmac, the TIKA Somalia programme coordinator, believes that investment in agriculture can substantially
push economic growth.

“If invested well, Somalia’s fisheries and agricultural sectors can feed the entire Africa,” he claims.

Yilmac’s plan is to mechanise and industrialise the two sectors so that agricultural and marine products can be used as raw materials.

Before it gets to that point, the Turkish team in Somalia is first assessing the situation.

In the coming months, the government will initiate joint agricultural projects with Somali agriculture companies and the government. The cooperation will involve training of farmers and facilitating them to access farming machinery.

Turkey’s interest in agriculture and fisheries is seen as an opportunity to attain a good balance in import-export trade. The country’s diverse involvement in economic and developmental activity, including the management of the airport through a 15-year contract with the Somali government and the Mogadishu Albayrak port under a 20-year contract, indicate its deep interests in Somalia’s economic revival.

The European country also has other numerous projects going on, such as the airlifting of 1,000 students to undergo higher education in Turkey and the 23km road constructed in Mogadishu.

There are also plans to rehabilitate an agriculture canal in Middle Shebelle Region of Jowhar.

However, Turkey’s Ambassador in Somalia Olgan Bekar appreciates that the Somali government has huge responsibilities.

“Somalia must forge stronger bonds regionally. It has to build government structures, and it must be in charge of regulatory enforcement. These are simply the best ways to get and retain the interest of private investors, multi-national companies and governments that are reluctant to trust the government.”