1. PROJECT JUSTIFICATIONS
Since the collapse of Somali central government in early 1991, Somalia has been suffering from an almost never-ending civil strife, and in most of the times armed conflicts over resources and power, which somehow continue till today, after 27 years. During these years, there has been a lack of active local administrations that provides basic social services to the needed communities.
Somalia is defined as one of the least developed countries, and also ranks amongst the ten poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that 43 percent of the population live in extreme poverty on less than one US dollar a day and that almost half of the labour force are unemployed. About 60 percent of the population in Somalia consists of nomadic pastoralists. The main source of livelihood is livestock management. The lack of diversity makes the economy fragile even at the best of times and extremely vulnerable in times of drought as was experienced in 2011.
1.2 Main concerns
The impact of drought-related crises in Hiran region is rapidly escalating year after year due to the shortage of rainfall or global climate changes, with more and more people being affected each time a drought occurs. Drought is becoming more frequent, allowing less time for recovery in between droughts, and increasing the vulnerability of local populations. The current ability of agro-pastoral and pastoralists to respond to drought is limited not only due to the increasing frequency of drought, but also due to increasing population, a dwindling resource base, conflict, political instability, changes in access to land and water, as well as the impact of other shocks such as flooding and disease outbreaks.
Drought: Reduces communities strengthen their livelihoods to disasters after it occurs and results Vulnerability (the risk that people will be exposed to a hazard such as drought, plus their capacity to cope with it and potential to recover after words).
Somaliais a semi-arid lands, frequent drought combine with the lack of alternative water sources, uncontrolled grazing areas, followed the agro-pastoralists and pastoralists themselves are increasing in number with the excess people settling in the towns or areas of growing crops. The grazing system of the pastoralists in Somalia was free grazing using the natural pasture and browsing the shrubs.
Since the frequency of the droughts in Somalia increased. The natural grazing system collapsed because even the dry season grazing areas are used during the wet season by the nomadic pastoralist. The water sources increased as more berkats and boreholes drilled.
Therefore, the need for supplementary feeding the livestock increased particularly cattle and goats. Agro-pastoralists commenced to preserve fodder for their cattle by storing maize and sorghum straw after harvest and piled to be used in drought period. It is called bal in Somali. The dairy cattle and goats rear in doors in the towns need to feed with fodder from the cereals and supplemented with concentrates mainly sesame cake and left over of food from the houses.
Some riverine farmers moved production of fodder instead of grains. They grow maize and just at the tassel they harvest to sell as fodder. Some research and institutions in Somalia commence to introduce species of high nutritious of herbaceous species of grasses and legumes such as Alpha-Alpha, Sudan grass etc.
Types of Fodder suitable in Hiran region
There are types of fodder suitable for fodder. Some are local and other introduced from foreign. For the local varies are maize and sorghum, different types of local grasses that need to be developed. For the imported species are Alpha-Alpha and Sudan grass and hydroponic fodder production which is new idea and technique to be implemented in Beletweyne soon.
The most important things is to develop hydroponic fodder production, conservation and preservation techniques for silage and haulage production. Hydroponic fodder production will be the first time for ever to test and implement in Somalia especially south/central Somalia.
Effects of drought on Somalia
· Water, disease(Water-borne diseases rise among people)
· Water source dry up.
· The distance between grazing and watering points increases.
· Many people and animals gather together on the few remaining water points.
· Livestock disease epidemics break out.
· Fodder demand increase and the prices skyrockets
Large numbers of pastoralists migrate with their animals to areas with more water.
Larger animals are weakened and many animals die on the way.
Sheep and goats are unable to trek ling distances, some dry season grazing cannot be used because of clan conflict due to natural resource scarcity.
Poorer agro-pastoralists (especially women) who own only sheep and goats have no pasture, so must watch their animals starving and dying next day.
Livestock prices fall, so agro-pastoralists or pastoralists are unable to sell their livestock and buy grain. Malnutrition of young children rises.
1.3 Hydroponic Fodder production(Pilot Project)
WHAT IS HYDROPONICS?
Hydroponic is a method of growing plants without soil. Only moisture and nutrients are provided to the growing plants. There are many advantages to hydroponics. Hydroponic growing systems produce a greater yield over a shorter period of time in a smaller area than traditionally-grown crops.
Hydroponic fodder production is very new to Somalia but was known in the world since 1930, there is renewed interest in hydroponic fodder as a feedstuff for sheep, goats, cattle, and other livestock.
Globally, hydroponic fodder production has become increasingly popular as it may be more competitive than classical agricultural production in certain contexts. While commonly viewed as high-tech or even prohibitively expensive technology it can be in fact established by producing the equipment using locally available materials and manufacturing capacities and can be competitive way of producing fodder. Some of the possible advantages of hydroponic fodder production are:-
Rational utilization of water
When it comes to irrigation water utilization, hydroponic production is by far more efficient than any other form of agriculture devoted to fodder production. This is especially important in areas suffering from chronic water shortages or in areas where irrigation infrastructure does not exist;
Open field production of fodder crops is often avoided due to security reasons. Fodder crops ready to be harvested are often victim of theft by other farmers grazing their animals on them or are simply stolen. Hydroponic production can be securely conducted in the backyard of a farmer’s house. In addition, the hydroponic fodder production is conducted in a semi controlled environment making the crop safe from failure due to weather elements;
No need for ownership or leasing of land
In many instances small scale farmers do not poses or cannot access land that is productive enough for feasible fodder production using classical agricultural technologies. In areas dominated by pastoral livestock production, land is usually public and land rights are not clear enough to assure the farmer clear possession or right of use. Hydroponic fodder production eliminates the need for secure ownership of land for production;
Low fixed assets investment
Classical agricultural production requires substantial investment in agricultural machinery, equipment and infrastructure including: machinery and equipment for land preparation, crop production, harvesting, post harvest handling and transportation, infrastructure for transportation, storage of the produce and irrigation. Hydroponic production requires substantially less investment in fixed assets and their maintenance. The equipment and the facilities needed can be manufactured locally from local materials and require minimal maintenance when compared to the machinery, equipment and facilities needed for classical fodder production;
Low operational cost
While classical fodder production requires constant operational expenditures (mechanization maintenance, fuel, lubricants, fertilizers, crop protection products), hydroponic fodder production utilizes only seed and water as production inputs;
Low labour requirements
While classical fodder production requires either qualified labour to operate machinery or high level of human labour with appropriate stamina, hydroponic production requires modest labour. All work in a hydroponic production can be performed by unskilled labor, elderly or even partially disabled individuals;
While in classical agriculture the natural vegetation cycles of the crops (annual and perennial) are long and production lasts several months, in hydroponic fodder production the production cycle is as short as 7-8 days. This makes the planning of the production very efficient since the farmer can react to the e supplement fodder needs swiftly.
This project will develop the new, easy and cheap fodder production and will response to the shortage of fodder production by supplying livestock in urban, agro-pastoral and pastorals and thus will increase livelihood of poor households in order to protect their core breeding animals and their livelihood assets. It intends to support and provide full training of 100 local Beletweyne beneficiaries for hydroponic fodder production. Hydroponic fodder production project will prevail over the following constraints for the production of quality green fodder:-
ü In case of small land holdings. & non-availability of fertile lands for green fodder cultivation.
ü When the irrigation/water facility, fencing, land preparations resources /labour are limited
ü In areas, where destruction of fodder is caused by stray cattle’s and other wild animals.
ü In regions, where dairy farmers spend higher cost for labour for green fodder cultivation.
ü In regions, where demand of green fodder is very high against existing availability of the fodder.
Benefits and Advantages of Hydroponics Green Fodder Production
The hydroponic system requires only 2 to 3 liters of water to grow 1 kg of quality green fodder when compared to 55 to 75 liters of water used in conventional farming.
Utilization of Minimal Land:
Generally, hydroponic greenhouse requires marginal land to cover the area of 10 meters x 5 meters for 1000 kg of green fodder per day per unit. In traditional farming it requires 1 hectare land.
Less Labour Requirement:
In hydroponics, the labour required for green fodder production is about 2 to 3 hours a day where as conventional fodder production system requires continuous intense labour for cultivation to harvesting of the grass.
Less Time to Grow Green Fodder:
To get the optimal growth stage of nutritious green fodder, it requires just over 7 to 8 days from seed germination to fully grown plant of 20 – 30 cm height. Constant supply of green fodder is possible round the year to meet the dairy industry demand.
Increased Nutritious Value:
The green fodder grown from hydroponic system will be highly Nutritious as compared to conventionally grown fodder. So using, hydroponic grass, one can supply quality milk from dairy animals.
Minimal Loss of Green Fodder:
Green fodder grown from hydroponic system will be fully utilized as there won’t be any loss of the green fodder during feeding. There would be wastage of chopped traditional green fodder or green grasses during consumption by the animal.
Hydroponic Fodder Technology
Hydroponic fodder production involves supplying cereal grain with necessary moisture and nutrients, to enable germination and plant growth in the absence of a solid growing medium. The resulting green shoots and root mat are harvested and fed to livestock. The grain responds to the supply of moisture and nutrients by germinating, sprouting and then producing a 200 – 250mm long vegetative green shoot with interwoven roots within 7 to 8 days
The fodder is grown on trays in a growing unit under controlled environment and only supplied with water at predetermined times during the day.
Commonly grown fodder crops under this method are Maize, barley, wheat and sorghum. A hydroponic fodder is ready for feeding in 7days. The end result is a network of roots and a green mat of green sprouts which is fed wholesome and provides high nutritional content.
Characteristics of hydroponic grown
· Highly rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes.
· Hydroponic fodder is 80% to 85% digestible
· Hydroponic fodder contains high quality protein
· High energy content
· High in moisture content that prevents colic.
Fodder Alternative – A highly nutritious and digestible fodder is provided daily on your property to be used in conjunction with other feed or as an alternative to them. The cost per kilogram is very competitive – depending largely upon the current prices of the seed grain.
Drought Proofing – The conversion of seed grain into succulent fodder by a factor of six to one has much appeal during drought or normal dry summer periods.
Management Tool – To have such a fodder available 365 days of the year allows farm managers to drop lambs, calves, etc at an optimal time to meet market peaks, as well as having the comfort of being able to produce fat stock that has a consistent quality.
Productivity in a Shed – Owners of small properties now have the means to economically increase their stock numbers without having to lot feed or the need to purchase additional land.
The direct project beneficiaries would be the local riverrine and agro pastoral farmers and their household members. A total of 100 women farmers and their families would benefit directly.
Total number of beneficiaries targeted by the project