Changing weather patterns with prolonged drought periods and heavy rainfall accelerate the degradation of land and the environment. This causes new challenges for agriculture and livestock. Grazeland and water become scarce, and pastoralists are often forced to take their livestock long distances to find enough water and feeding for their animals. This may cause new conflicts, and increases the risk for both livestock, pastoralists, and women and children who often have to remain in the settlement area. In the case of severe drought, livestock mortality becomes a serious challenge, and affects the livelihood of pastoralist households.
Farmers and the increasing number of pastoralists that move into agro-pastoralism lack knowledge and capacity on how to adopt agriculture production to the changing climate. They also lack access to drought tolerant crops and varieties. To increase pastoralists and agro-pastoralists adaptive capacity to climate change, we provide training in climate robust agriculture. This includes soil and water conservation methods to increase soil humidity, techniques for soil preparation, introduction of new crops and intercropping.
Water is crucial in Somalia. We build and rehabilitate sub-surface dams (or sand dams) in seasonal rivers to retain water from rainfall in the soil, cisterns, shallow-wells and systems for roof-water harvesting. Dams and ponds are often covered with plastic and can retain water for up to eight months. Too much water can also cause severe damage, and we build systems for water diversion and canals to control floods and reduce the destruction of agricultural land.
For many farmers in Somaliland and Puntland, the availability of seeds of high quality is very limited. During the civil war, local varieties disappeared as farmers fled to neighbouring Ethiopia. To improve seed security, The Development Fund builds community seed banks where farmers can save, exchange or borrow seeds. Through community seed banks, 31 varities have been repatriated and are stored in the seed banks. The farmers involve in participatory varietal selection to identify varieties that best adopt to the local climatic conditions, which they can use on their own plots. We also support our local partners’ advocacy work on seed policy, with particular emphasis on securing farmers rights to seeds in Somaliland and Puntland’s seed laws
The Development Fund has developed a model for community climate adaptation. In Somalia, we use participatory methods and involve the whole community in vulnerable assessment and drafting of action plans to reduce vulnerability. The actions are often related to flood protection, soil bunds to reduce gully formation and prevent soil erosion, access to water and small credits. We have labeled the model “Climate Adapted Villages”, and implement locally adopted models in all countries we work in