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Somali herders in Puntland produce animal fodder to boost drought-resilience

File Photo/ Ergo

Agro-pastoralists in the Somali state of Puntland have begun using machines to produce animal fodder for use in times of drought that often wipes out livestock in the region.

Mohamoud Mohamed Osman, an agro-pastoralist farming maize, beans, and vegetables on 50-hectares in Hinhor in Mudug region, told Radio Ergo that he normally has to buy animal fodder for his herd of goats in the dry seasons.

This year, however, he obtained a machine to grind hay and leftovers from his farm produce to make nutritious animal feed.

“We started storing the leftover crops that we used to throw out and we intend to use them in the next drought to feed the animals,” he said.

Hussein Abdirahman Haji, an agro-pastoralist in Burtinle district of Nugal region, attested to the efficacy of the machines. “The machines shred hay and farm produce into small pieces for animals to eat when there is no pasture out there for them,” he said.

Hussein and Mohamoud are among 30 agro-pastoralists in Nugal and Mudug regions who were given fodder-making machines to enhance their production and boost resilience, according to Abdullahi Jama, acting director at Puntland’s Ministry of Livestock.

“The machines are to be used only on their farms, they are not allowed to use them elsewhere or for other purposes,” he said.

The state government is encouraging nomadic pastoralists to settle down and become agro-pastoralists, which is seen as a more sustainable livelihood.

“Droughts are becoming more frequent, so we want our pastoralists to adopt a more sedentary and productive livelihood,” Abdullahi said.

Mohamed Warsame, a local expert in agriculture, told Radio Ergo that making and storing animal fodder in this way would make pastoralists more resilient to drought.

“The agro-pastoralist livelihood system can adapt to the recurrent droughts. There are different types of pasture that can easily be planted on farms. There are also a number of invasive plants that we don’t use but which can be shredded and fed to the animals,” he said.

Source: Radio Ergo

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