Food and Nutrition Security Resilience Programme: Report of the multidisciplinary context and fodder value chain analysis in Sool and Sanaag (Somaliland) – Somalia

Executive summary

The four-year Food and Nutrition Security Resilience Programme (FNS-REPRO) has been funded by the Government of the Netherlands through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) since 2019. The USD 28 million programme addresses the “cause-effect” relationship between conflict and food insecurity in the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of the Sudan (Darfur) and Somaliland. The multi-year livelihood- and resilience-based approach is designed to allow FAO and partners to set examples of building food system resilience in protracted crises, which have until now been emergency intervention areas. In addition to the analysis undertaken during the development of the proposal, further in-depth context and value chain analysis during the inception phase of FNS-REPRO was required to inform the area-based intervention in each target area. The key purpose of the in-depth analysis was to identify the multidisciplinary and multidimensional nature of the threats and risks to target community livelihoods and livelihood strategies (represented by the value chains) and opportunities that have enabled these communities to withstand the risks; and even when they have succumbed, to bounce back to, or above, their previous (pre-risk) livelihood and livelihood strategies position. This report discusses the recently completed Somaliland context analysis study that has been validated by study participants from the field and by Somaliland government officials, as well as recommendations from the donor and the findings of the two field missions undertaken by FAO staff between August and September 2020.

The analysis was conducted by teams from the FAO Representation in Somalia, including experts from the Livestock, Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM)1 and Food Security and Nutrition Analysis (FSNAU)2 sectors. The teams were assisted by two consultants – an international gender consultant who led the analysis and a national conflict consultant with a grounded understanding of the context of conflict in the greater Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland.

Mainly qualitative and some quantitative data were collected from young (less than 35 years old) and older (older than 35 years) men and women hailing from six villages in the Sool region and two in the Sanaag region.
Sanaag and Xudun in Sool were largely inaccessible because the already poor roads were rendered impassable by heavy rains experienced in the weeks before the study was conducted in December 2019. RIMA baseline results will provide the missing information on the villages of Ceelcade and Sincaro (Sanaag) and Lafweyn in Xudun (Sool).

Secondary data were collected through a review of published and grey literature, whereas primary data were collected through gender disaggregated focus group discussions (FGDs), key informant interviews (KIIs) and in-depth individual interviews (IIIs). Data were entered into Excel workbooks, from where qualitative data were analysed inductively and quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Initial results were validated with selected representatives of community members interviewed, local leader representatives and national level government officers.

Results revealed that both Sool and Sanaag have varying degrees of conflict, which respondents associated with the fragility of the Somaliland state that is characterized by inter- and intra-clan tensions; environmental degradation; poverty and destitution of pastoralists from the three-year drought that ended in 2019; and poor rural road, health and education infrastructure. Despite these hardships, Sool and Sanaag are economically active areas where sheep, goats and camels are produced for domestic and international consumption through the major markets of Burco in the mainland and the ports of Barbera and Bosasso. A large part of Sool and Sanaag is constituted by a mix of savannah grasslands, shrublands and woodlands, but the woodlands are rapidly being depleted.

Trade in fodder of different quantities takes place in all the villages visited except in Balanbal in Sanaag, where respondents stated that they do not cut grass and have a pasture governing system. Smallholder farmers interviewed at the validation workshop were unable to provide information required to analyse the monetary costs of, and benefits from, the fodder value chain. This can be explained by the fact that they most likely do not have the necessary skills to conduct cost-benefit analyses nor other business management skills.

Gender stereotypes were found to be strong in the community and women were relegated to retailing small quantities of commodities such as tea, khat, milk, meat, grains, sugar and fodder in low-business local markets with low profit margins, whereas men mainly sold livestock in large numbers and fodder in large quantities in distant markets that are big and lucrative. Additionally, women had more limited access to credit and income as well as to health facilities compared with men.

The following is a summary of recommendations based on data analysis. A detailed presentation of these and additional recommendations can be obtained in chapter 5 of this report.

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