by Peter Bloch
The agricultural sector in Somaliland was virtually destroyed by twenty years of civil war. There is no input sector, no research and no regulatory environment. But the Somali Agricultural Technical Group (http://www.satg.org/) is active, and recently delivered a small consignment of filsan, an improved mung bean variety. Filsan was developed in Somalia before the outbreak of the civil war, and the seed was lost. When SATG started in 2001, the original seed was retrieved from AVRDC, multiplied by ICRISAT and repatriated to southern Somalia in 2004.
This historic photograph, taken by me on March 30th shows Dr. Hussein Haji, SATG Executive Director, handing over 5 kg of filsan foundation seed to Ahmed Dahir, of Agro Fafa, an agridealer from the Awdal region of Somaliland. Agro Fafa will multiply the seed and sell the output to local farmers, providing technical support and training on how to achieve the best results.
Filsan is a high yielding (up to 800kg/ha), early maturing (50 days to harvest) and highly nutritious variety which will play an important role in jump-starting the seed sector in Somaliland.
Collective action by the CGIAR, with support from the EU, has been assisting the efforts of government and development organizations to ensure that farmers in the country are not cut-off from research efforts producing international public goods that can potentially have a positive benefit in the country.