DAI Partnership with SATG on Economic Growth in Somaliland

After several months of discussion on economic resource enhancement in Somaliland, the Somali Agriculture Technical Group (SATG) has finally signed a one year partnership contract with Development Alternative Inc. (DAI) for agriculture-related economic growth and value chain development in Somaliland.

The USAID-funded Partnership for Economic Growth is being implemented by DAI. The purpose of the Partnership is to help local authorities and private sector groups improve the enabling environment for investment, generate more productive employment and improve other livelihood activities. The program anticipates expanding to other regions of Somalia. The Partnership has two focus areas: 1- overall private sector development, including women’s business development; and 2- strengthening specific value chains, including livestock and agricultural production.

In the agriculture sector, DAI is partnering with SATG and Amoud University and the aim is to increase vegetable productivity and production volumes to replace imports and increase domestic incomes and employment. The role of SATG is to provide technical support to Amoud University in various agricultural activities including: a) identification of various vegetable crops and varieties b) developing protocols for introducing demonstration plots on major vegetable crops grown in the region, c) training of trainers and extension workers on crop production practices and d) providing training and technical know-how on seed multiplication systems.

Since its establishment in 2002, SATG has been advocating for long term sustainable agriculture programs. After the collapse of the Somali state in 1990, it has become a common practice to introduce and disseminate new seed technologies without prior knowledge and without testing for environmental suitability. This can sometimes become a very costly operation for the small-scale subsistence farmers when these technologies fail due to lack of adaptation. In November 2010, SATG organized a workshop in Hargeisa on Technology Testing and Transfer with the aim of helping the field practitioners (local and international NGOs) to develop a comprehensive testing system for new technologies.  During the workshop, the key functions critical to agricultural technology and development were identified as technology sourcing, testing and adaptation, technology dissemination, resource mobilization, coordination, awareness of and compliance with standards, market development, and training/capacity development.

The partnership between SATG and DAI is intended to address all the functions required for technology testing and dissemination and set the stage for economic sector development, specifically in the seed sector and agro dealer development. This will hopefully set the stage for others (international NGOs and donor agencies) to follow.