Published by Abdikarim Ali, BRCiS NRC Communication and advocacy coordinator
Luuq, also known as Luuq Ganaane, is one of the oldest districts of Gedo region of Jubba land state of Somalia. It locates at the bend of Juba River, where the Juba river flows down from north to south in a horseshoe shape. The district borders Ethiopia and Rabdure (Bakool Region) to the North, Wajiid District (Bakool), and Berdaale District (Bay Region) District to the East, Garbaharey District to the South and Beled Hawa and Dolow Districts to the West.
The district has an estimated geographical area of 8,258 km2 and an estimated population of about 65,000 people living in the Luuq town, but the total population of the district is estimated at 185,703 people. Luuq has a hot climatic condition with little rainfall. The temperature is always high, and the areas are cyclically tropical by drought and the floods, which adversely affect the farm-based livelihoods. Several consecutive seasons of rain failure have led failed crop harvesting driving many people into food insecurity.
Like any other sector, agriculture has adversely been affected by Somalia’s lack of functional and robust government in more than thirty years. Gedo region, in particular, Luuq district was severely affected, which was one of Somalia’s food basket areas. The district is still crippling with the numerous human attributed activities and natural setbacks. Recurrent droughts and floods coupled with unsustainable agricultural practices and the absence of enabling environment have exposed many to the impacts of climatic shocks.
Abdullahi Sheikh Abdisalam, 50-years old farmer and the father of 9 children collects watermelon from his farm in Luuq district of Gedo Region, Somalia. Photo: Mohamed Bashir/NRC.
NRC, through a community-cantered BRCiS II project, initiated the embankment of 1km gabion to mitigate surface runoff from upstream and that from the river in Luuq district. This was to enable small-scale farmers to scale up their agricultural production. Thanks to DFID fund through BRCiS, this has led to the reclamation of the abandoned land for proper use.
Abdullahi Sheikh Abdisalam , among the small-scale farmers in Luuq, is one of the beneficiaries of the DFID funded project to restart their agriculture production after the embankment.
Abdullahi is the father of nine children – six boys and three girls, out of which three boys and one girl are in school.
Abdullahi, like many other farmers in Buyle village, southeast of Luuq town who depend on farming as their primary source of livelihood. Abdullahi has a 4 hectare of farmland in Buyle village, but despite having a large piece of fertile land near the river, he was living in poverty.
He couldn’t afford to fully utilize his agriculture land due to fear of recurrent river flooding in rainy season. As a result of these recurrent floods, Abdullahi earlier lost his irrigation pump, crops, and his farm couldn’t be accessed during the floods. “The persistent floods caused by Jubba river destroyed my crops and also abandoned a large piece of my arable land except for a few lemon trees. I lost my irrigation pump too. I became hopeless after losing everything. I started to look for casual work, and I got the opportunity to work as a construction worker. I was getting $6 per day, whenever there is a construction nearby. the money which was not enough to help me sustain my family needs”. Abdullahi says.
As a result of the river embankment intervention through BRCiS II project, three months later,
Abdullahi was encourage to cultivate the land he previously abandoned and began to plant different crops. Abdullahi, and other ten farmers were given hope and benefited from the embankment.
Finally, Abdullahi says, “As a small-scale farmer, I’m grateful for this key intervention at the right time. Thanks to NRC and its donor for the river embankment activity, which enabled me to restart my farming production. I’m now proud to grow various crops such as maize, millet, onions, and watermelon. After a good harvest, I am expecting to fully meet my family’s basic needs”.
Today Abdulahi and other small-scale farmers are grateful for this intervention which they think I came the right time. Thanks to DFID and BRCiS project for the embankment which enabled the small –scale farmers in Luuq to restart farming production in an abonded land near the river juba.