Huge livestock losses may worsen food security in Somalia

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that large-scale livestock losses as a result of drought have severely impacted the livelihoods of farmers, which could exacerbate Somalia’s food security.

Huge livestock losses may worsen food security in Somalia

In its Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS) report, the FAO said that urgent support was needed to assist farmers as forecasts indicated below-average rainfall from April to June.

FAO representative in Somalia, Daniele Donati, said the losses, which amounted to 60% of herds in some areas, had severely damaged livelihoods, and the situation remained critical in the central and northern regions.

“It is crucial that we continue to support pastoralist households in building resilience against climate-related shocks by providing timely veterinary and feeding assistance for their animals,” Donati said in a statement.

The large losses suffered by livestock farmers had severely affected Somalia’s traditional agro-pastoral economy.

According to the FAO, urgent support was needed to build the resilience of pastoralist communities and prevent the deterioration of food security.

The prolonged drought in northern and central regions during the past two years had increased the number of people suffering severe food insecurity by about 3% to 1,8 million, or almost 30% of the population in these areas.

Last year 38,3 million animals were reached through the FAO’s animal health services, and a further 900 000 animals were provided with supplementary feeding, while more than 53 million litres of water were delivered to those in urgent need.

The UN food agency aimed to assist 2,7 million rural Somalis in 2018, and appealed for US$236 million to sustain these interventions and assist the most vulnerable families.