Somalilandsun – In general context of Somaliland economy, it mainly depends on livestock production, which has historically and culturally been the mainstay of livelihood for the majority of the people. Moreover, farming sector is predominantly subsistence through rain-fed production of cereals mainly sorghum and maize. Rain-fed farming is estimated for 90% and irrigation 10% of all agricultural activities in the country where the livestock production contributes 60% of the GDP and about 85% of foreign export earnings.
On March 3, 2014 Somaliland government launched a campaign of awareness rising named “a week of food and water security compaign”. The policy behind this campaign was persuading the people to consume locally cultivated crops and by increasing production and productivity. The idea was welcomed and appreciated at first place. As the Somaliland in figures show, in 2013 the government allocated to the productive sector $ 11,537,249,755 which was expected to empower the capacity skills and technical knowhow of local farmers with respect to increase their production and productivity (crops, livestock and fisheries).
Unfortunately, upto date our government not yet intended to invest and to subsidise small farmers on marketplace or to support overhead costs of farmers, like seeds, cultivation tractors, water pump machines and even pipelines. Similarly, other big business entities do not want to invest our small farmers. As the Somaliland in figures published the quantity of food imported in 2013 for the first quarter were 105,579 tons and the second year quantity food imported of 2014 first quarter 108,339 tons, and this year the quantity food imported of 2015 first quarter 102,675 tons. Additionally, the consumer price index on imported food has shown increase in first quarter of 2013 ($212,) 2014 ($226) and 2015 ($238). Therefore, the food price index rises each year and the production is zero.
It is a fact that our government allocated almost half of the country’s budget and spent in our Army forces which have entitled to allot. In 2013 as the Somaliland figures shows, it allocates in Security Sector approx $ 275,748,151,762 and it has the right to allocate them because they sacrificed themselves to death and harm by protecting any kind of threat, as article 123 of Somaliland constitution states that “the national Armed Forces shall be responsible for protecting and defending the independence of the country. In addition, they shall, when needed, undertake duties in periods of state of emergency, in accordance with the Constitution.”
In my opinion, I see as an idle resource (the Army) for economic prospect which is only consumption pillar. In this case, I wonder why the government not utilized their army force for the production means (digging wells, constrution dams, gullies and farm extention); for sake of securing food needed by its citizens whom cannot afford to pay the higher price of imported food. Nevertheless, Army’s participantion and engagement of crop cultivation to increase production supply will help country’s economy growth and it will immediately increase food stock available in marketplace and consumers easily accessible to buy with reliable and stable price and it will utililize to feed country as whole. Then, this will be tangible outcome from production output. If the government exploits its army in production means, it will help country’s economic growth.
In my conclusion, today the geopolitics of the region of Horn of Africa is based on mutual interest and understanding. Hence Somaliland is not facing direct threat or hostility from neighboring countries or other countries. Therefore, I would like to suggest that the army force should participate in country’s production means is necessary and essential for economic growth.
Adam Ahmed Adam
The author is economist based in Erigavo, Sanaag region of Somaliland.