The SIRA Phase II project will focus on improving productivity in Somaliland’s livestock sector, as well as strengthening data collection and information management

12 July 2023, Hargeisa – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of the Swiss Confederation launched the second phase of a food security initiative at an event held in Hargeisa today with the Somaliland Government. The project, titled ‘Somali Information and Resilience Building Action (SIRA Phase II)’ is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and aims to strengthen the livelihoods of 186,600 people in Western Somaliland. It will achieve this by improving the fodder value chain and creating opportunities for rural families to diversify incomes as well as improving access to information.

“I would like to iterate Switzerland’s unwavering commitment to the SIRA project. We look forward to witnessing the continued impact and positive transformations that will unfold in the coming years” said Mr. Frank Bertelsbeck, Deputy Regional Director of International Cooperation, at the Embassy of Switzerland. “Together, we can ensure the resilience and prosperity of Somaliland’s livestock sector,” he said.

“This project is a great example of how FAO and the Swiss Government are working together to strengthen the entire length of the fodder value chain,” said FAO Head of Programme, Mr. Ezana Kassa. “By strengthening the livelihoods of agro pastoral communities and improving access to information, we’re helping to build a more resilient agrifood system that can withstand the challenges of climate change,” he said.

“We are fully aware that the implementation of (SIRA I) has achieved remarkable outputs,” said Hon. Saeed Sulub Mohamed, the Somaliland Minister of Livestock and Fishery Development. “The second phase of the SIRA Project is expected to consolidate the gains made during the SIRA first phase,” he said.

Livestock is a major source of income for many people in Somaliland, and the sector accounts for a large percentage of its Gross Domestic Product. However, the livestock sector is increasingly threatened by the global climate crisis, with shocks such as drought, flash floods, and locust infestations becoming more frequent. Rural communities require more resilient livelihoods that can safeguard and boost food security despite these challenges.

The USD 6.3 million SIRA Phase II Project will be implemented in 35 rural communities of Awdal Region over three years. It builds on the success of the first phase of the initiative, which concluded in November 2022 and was the first project of its kind to focus on strengthening fodder production in the Awdal region. During the first phase, cooperatives were supported to develop a market for fodder and other products with the provision of fodder processing machines and business development skills. They established fodder producer groups that encouraged better natural resource management. Through these groups, women and youth were able to play a new role as participants and decision makers. The new phase will actively foster strong networks and partnerships with the market for fodder producers, further enhancing market linkages and facilitating sustainable growth.

In this second phase of the project, renewed attention will also be given to the importance of data collection and analysis. FAO’s Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and Somalia Water And Land Information Management Unit (SWALIM) will work closely with the Government of Somaliland to build their capacity and eventually transfer these functions for better policy and decision making.

FAO has a long history of working together with the Somaliland Government to address the challenges facing its agrifood systems. Initiatives like the SIRA Phase II Project that are focused on the fodder value chain can help to improve the resilience of rural communities and Somaliland’s crucial livestock sector.