Good fruit in a barren land

Environment and climate changeFood SecuritySomalia

Saturday 17 June is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. With President Trump pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the need for action on this has never been more urgent. For Daacad and his community in Somaliland, it’s a matter of life and death.

Daacad* is 56 years old and lives with his wife and children in Balimatan, Somaliland, where he has been his whole life. He used to farm livestock, but the changing climate has made this unsustainable.

‘Over the years, droughts have become more frequent and severe,’ Daacad says as he looks across the barren, dry land. ‘The rains are unreliable and inadequate.’ These worsening weather patterns have mainly been caused by deforestation for making charcoal. Fortunately, an innovative agricultural project is helping them to overcome this challenge.

Eye-opener
Tearfund partner World Relief Germany has been training people like Daacad in Conservation Agriculture techniques, which maximise yields even in a challenging climate. They have also provided livelihoods training to help find new sources of income – essential during periods of drought. Daacad describes the project as an eye-opener to the whole community.

One of the project initiatives was the building of household dams. ‘Now, when the rain does come, I collect as much water as I can in the family berkad [earth dam], which I then utilise on my farm,’ Daacad explains. ‘This has helped me diversify my sources of income, since previously I kept only a few goats and sheep’.

Daacad is now able to grow tomatoes, watermelons and also has plans to start a seedling nursery. He sells the produce within Balimatan and surrounding villages. Daacad has been so successful that he has also become a Farmer Field School facilitator, whereby he leads classes in a demonstration plot on his farm to pass on this valuable knowledge.

Speaking about Conservation Agriculture, Daacad says: ‘This is extremely useful in areas that receive little rainfall. The mulch (a layer of compost) on the soil reduces the evaporation of water into the air. With reduced loss of water, plants have enough to support their growth and production of good yields.’

‘We work together’
While many neighbouring farms are not doing so well, his farm is green and growing – with minimum input. People within the community have started to recognise Daacad’s new abilities, with many of them coming to him for advice and support.

He realises his farm is a lifeline and will continue working hard to improve it. With the funds generated, he is comfortably supporting his family, which includes the school fees for his children.

‘Before, I was so poor that I was not even able to talk to the community,’ Daacad shares. ‘Since the project began, the main difference is that we work together, rather than each individual working alone. And now I am a successful farmer, selling my crops’.

It is only thanks to our amazing supporters that such work can take place, and Daacad is eager to show his gratitude: ‘You have helped my community gain skills that are allowing us to earn dignified livelihoods, which are also protective to our environment. We pray that God blesses you, that you may continue to help this community grow.’

Fighting injustice
Success stories such as this are wonderful, but there is still much work to be done. It is a gross injustice that the world’s poorest people suffer the most because of climate change, even though they are the least responsible for it. For the sake of God’s creation – and for people like Daacad – we must continue to ensure that governments around the world see climate change as a top priority.

PLEASE PRAY

  • Lift up Somaliland and pray for an end to the droughts that have crippled the region. Pray for all nations affected by desertification and drought, and that our leaders will be moved to take action.
  • Praise God for the success of the Conservation Agriculture project in Daacad’s community, and pray that our partner World Relief Germany will be able to expand this important work.
  • Pray for Daacad and his family – that God’s presence will be with them and that they will continue to grow in love, faith and strength.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

To find out more about how you can help fight climate change, check out Tearfund Action here: www.tearfund.org/act

Gideon Heugh

Gideon is a Copywriter in Tearfund's Brand and Communications Team. He's passionate about poetry, nature and a good cup of coffee, and he has an MA in Creative Writing.