Greenhouse farming instills hope in Somali pastoralists facing drought

The introduction of greenhouse farming to drought-ridden Dharjaale, a village in eastern Somalia, has allowed people to benefit from an alternative source of income.

After losing three hundred goats and walking nearly 260 kilometers, Zainab Mohamed, a pastoralist mother of five, left behind her livelihood and the habitat she grew up in after a severe drought hit Somalia in 2017. Today, she owns a small farm built with transparent materials, known as greenhouse farming. Several such farms are owned by pastoralist families after losing their livestock to droughts. 

Along with 25 families, Zainab formed the Dharjaale farmers association in Dharjaale village in eastern Somalia. Prior to this, the families were pastoralists in the countryside, where they roamed bushes to herd livestock.

KAALO introduced the greenhouse farming concept in Dharjaale — structures made of transparent material that shades crops from inclement weather conditions and pests. “Farming helped me create an additional source of income. Now, I can help my family go to the local market and buy basic food items,” Zainab said.

“Farmers in the village are also able to sell their products in the local market, which used to depend on markets from other towns, which are as far as 400 kilometers away from our village, to get products like tomatoes and peppers,’’ she added.

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