EU and FAO extend support to long-term seed production in Somalia

By EU Delegation to Somalia

The European Union, the Federal Government of Somalia and the Food and AgricultureOrganization (FAO) of the United Nations today jointly launched a new project that will provideimportant and much-needed support to the long-term development of Somalia's agriculturesector.

“Any farmer in the world knows the value of high-quality locally-adapted seeds. They boostproduction and reduce vulnerabilities to diseases, pests and climate-related changes. Somalia isno exception” said Richard Trenchard, FAO's Representative to Somalia. For many years,

Somali farmers have had to rely on higher cost imported seeds. “This is now changing thanks togenerous support from the European Union” added Trenchard.

The “Somaseeds — Improving the genetic quality of seeds in Somalia” project is receiving €2.5million from the European Union (approximately USD2.8 million). These resources will helpensure that Somali farmers have far better access to high-quality, locally adapted seeds each timethey plant major food crops, vital for a country in which 40% of the total population faces foodinsecurity on a daily basis.

The project builds on the successful results of two previous EU funded interventions that havehelped lay the foundations for seed sector development in Somalia. . The new project will beimplemented by FAO working in close partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, a number ofregional Ministries of Agriculture across the country, International Centres of Excellence and theprivate sector.

“This project will provide an important boost to agricultural development and promote betterlivelihoods in Somalia but at the same time will greatly contribute to build resilience especiallyin a context progressively and constantly affected by climate change. Thanks to this project,farmers will be able to produce seeds better adapted to local conditions, increase productivityand access to market with products of better quality” said Daria Fane, Head of the Cooperationof the EU.

“Somaseeds” is a National Project that has been put in place to enhance core capacities in theMinistries of Agriculture and farmers' organizations. The programme will build the skills neededfor plant testing, plant breeding, basic seed production and in establishing a seed certificationsystem that conforms to international standards. This will diversify the seed market in Somaliaand make locally produced improved and certified seeds available to farmers. In turn this willreduce dependency on imports and responds to both the demand of the agriculture sector andemergency situations.

“The project will also put in place the requisite mechanisms for public, private sector and civilsociety to form partnerships and mitigate and adapt better to the circumstances of climatechange” said Richard Trenchard, FAO's Representative to Somalia.

Two Research Stations will be developed to ensure the effective implementation of plannedactivities; one in Dollow in Jubbaland and the other in Aburiin in Somaliland. Field plots fortesting seeds will be established in Jowhar and Burao.