Agriculture students from universities in Somaliland have been helping local farmers to master improved farming methods in order to strengthen their production.
Twenty-five students from Hargeisa, Golis and Beder universities in Hargeisa have been volunteering their knowledge and introducing skills to 500 farmers across Somaliland, including in Gebiley, Arabasiyo, Abarso, Adadley, and Dacadr-budhuq.
Mubarik Mohamed Iman, a farmer in Adalu village, told Radio Ergo that the training had already brought results after years of preventable crop losses.
“I learnt many things!” he said. “Some crops do well in warm weather, others in cold weather, but because we did not understand this the seeds ended up rotting. The other problem was that we had no knowledge about crop rotation.”
The four-month training, that has been ongoing since April, covers crop rotation, pests and disease, market demand, consumer taste, local ecological conditions, and planting techniques.
Mubarik has planted maize, tomatoes, peppers, beans and watermelon on his one-hectare farm and has converted to the new methods.
“My crops have dried up several times due to lack of intervals in planting and failure to prevent
Saynab Ahmed Abdirahman, a farmer in Arabsiyo village, commended the training she received from the university students. In particular, she learnt how to use chemical pesticides safely and effectively.
“I sometimes feel guilty and regret the thoughtless way I used to keep the chemicals. My children used to play with the pesticides because I knew little about the harm they could do. Now I keep them out of reach of children,” Saynab told Radio Ergo.
The crops on Saynab’s farm including maize, beans, tomatoes, and chills are growing in a healthy way and she is pleased.
“The salad, green pepper, tomatoes, pepper and onions I harvested recently are of high quality and good quantity, so I can see this training was very productive,” she commended.
Said Dahir Muse, a third-year agriculture student involved as a trainer, said the initiative stemmed from a student survey of the challenges facing local farmers.
“We realized there was a need for awareness and training after intensive observation. The problem we saw was that the farmers use only traditional methods of farming and have no knowledge about modern farming methods,” he said.