In Somalia thousands of nomads are settling down to a new way of life in agricultural camps established by the government in the fertile southern part of the country.
In Somalia thousands of nomads are settling down to a new way of life in agricultural camps established by the government in the fertile southern part of the country. They were left destitute three years ago when most of their animals died in a drought.
SYNOPSIS: Around 30,000 of the nomads were brought to this camp at Sablale to take up farming. Another 75,000 were resettled at Kutwaro and Dujuma, and a further 15,000 were set up as fisherman on the Indian Ocean Coast. The nomads are being trained by the government and eventually they will be self-sufficient.
Originally a quarter of a million nomads were cared for in 20 refugee camps following the drought. The government estimated that 20,000 people died because of the water shortage in addition to a million cattle, five million sheep and 30,000 camels. International aid has provided agricultural machinery for those who chose to take up farming rather than return to their traditional way of life. Assistance has come from the International Development Association, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the African Development Bank and the European Development Fund.
The Somali government has estimated the cost of the farming and fishing programme at approximately 50 million U.S. dollars for 1977, which includes provision of basic necessities such as food and clothing. It is expected to take at least six years before the schemes become self-supporting, with each family farming its own plot of three or four hectares. Only about a million of the eight million hectares of fertile land in the souther are under cultivation at present.
So far the government considers the programme a success, although it is too early to speculate about long-term prospects. Officials are pleased that only 10 percent of the nomads have given up and gone back to their old life.