Transforming the Livestock Sector in Somalia

Somali Natural Resources Research Center

SONRREC works on climate-relevant livestock production strategies such as fodder management and conservation, water harvesting, and manure management that have been suggested as potential options for increased productivity

50% of the population involved

Over 40% of GDP

Challenges

Livestock in Somalia based on pastoralism which makes best use of wet and dry season grazing. The importance of pastoralism is to a large degree due to the biophysical setting, which contains very large areas of arid and semi-arid rangeland and comparatively limited areas suitable for intensive agriculture. In recent decades, however, changes in access to dry season and drought grazing and watering locations resulted in overgrazing and land degradation and created conditions of ecological stress in many rangeland areas, and considerably reduced options for transhumant herders. There is some evidence of localized range degradation. Land degradation in turn was perceived to be a serious obstacle to pastoral sector development.

Grassland degradation has become a major environmental and economic problem, so sustainable utilization of resources is crucial in terms of not only supporting the local and animal production but also thinking about the global environment. Precipitation is the most important factor that determines the timing and duration of the Somali pastoralists' use of a particular rangeland. Rainfall is limited and unpredictable.

Droughts occur frequently in Somalia and pastoralists consequently move their herds from one area to another to cope with rapidly changing environmental conditions. As pastoralists leave degraded areas, they are often obliged to migrate to areas already occupied by other herders and farmers. This leads to overgrazing and conflict as more animals compete for resources that previously sustained less livestock. It is argued that unless the mechanisms are understood, rangeland restoration will be more costly and likely to fail.

SONRREC Approach

SONRREC launched a series of remote‐sensing monitoring of desertification to correlate climatic variation and adverse human activities with the status of rangelands. The study will involve assessment and monitoring of rangeland degradation, desertification, and biodiversity loss in the grazing lands of Somalia. Remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) are the most powerful applications used to assist in grassland resource inventories and integration of data and as mechanisms for analysis, modelling and forecasting to support decision-making. The study will help develop appropriate management plans and related legal frameworks for sustainable exploitation of rangelands. Also, this study will help in the implementation of global environmental conventions such as the Convention on Combating Desertification (CCD) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
In addition, SONRREC will study other areas such as climate-relevant livestock production strategies such as fodder management and conservation, water harvesting, and manure management that have been suggested as potential options for increased productivity. Moreover, SONRREC sees that improved animal health management, improved breeds, and improved nutrition are critical to increasing resilience.