In response to crisis faced by millions of people in Somalia, the African Development Fund has approved $5.4 million as grant to support the building of urgently needed food security.
The grant constitutes additional financing to the multinational Program to Build Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security (BREFONS) and will specifically deploy certified quality seeds of climate-adapted fodder varieties and enable the establishment of fodder banks in the six regional states of the country.
The overall objective of the BREFONS Programme, which was approved in November 2021 for an amount of $20 million, is to contribute to improving living conditions of rural communities in the project’s target areas and that of their livestock by improving their access to water, pasture, and animal health and markets.
The additional resources will increase the project’s coverage to an additional 50,000 people and 250,000 livestock, by improving access to food and pasture, respectively.
The project will make use of the water mobilization infrastructures under the BREFONS Programme, which includes the construction of 42 small earth dams (20,000-25,000 m3) and 23 covered community water pans. The short-term outcome will be the significant improvement of national domestic food and feed production and productivity.
According to the Director General for the Bank’s East Africa region, Nnenna Nwabufo, “Over the years, droughts have been increasing in severity and frequency in Somalia, creating conditions of chronic vulnerability with persistent food insecurity, widespread economic hardships, conflicts, and migration, hitting the pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities hardest.
“The effect of the prolonged drought and added impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has deepened food insecurity in the country.”
Nwabufo added that “currently, more than five million people are facing dire food shortages.”
More than 50% of last year’s food aid for Somalia was expected to come from Ukraine, but the conflict has closed off shipping ports in the country. As things stand, some areas in the country are at increased risk of famine until at least September 2022 if the current Gu (rainy) season crop and livestock production fails, and food prices continue to rise sharply.
This funding falls under the African Emergency Food Production Facility approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors in May this year. The $1.5 billion Facility aims to avert a food crisis by providing 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds. It will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to produce 38 million tons of food. This would be a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.