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SAAMAYNTA GANACSIGA

The USAID Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods (GEEL) Project Newsletter

Issue #8 September 2019


TABLE OF CONTENTS New Tech Boosts Production and Investment for Somalia’s First Commercial Seed Supplier......... 3 USAID Leadership Attend Mogadishu Trade Symposium.......................................................................... 5 Business-to-Business Event in Baidoa Leads with Resilience.................................................................... 7 Data-Driven Fisheries Management Support Sustainable Lobster Populations.................................... 10 AgriTech Brings New Angle to Somaliland Agribusiness ........................................................................... 11 Protecting Sea Cucumber Stocks and Mangrove Habitat.......................................................................... 12


Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

With USAID support, Filsan has installed temperature-controlled, misting greenhouses to ensure top-quality seedling production on its own farm. Photo credit: Abdikarim Omar/GEEL.

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New Tech Boosts Production and Investment for Somalia’s First Commercial Seed Supplier ilsan Seed Company is blazing trails in With growing confidence in its production streams, Somalia’s agriculture sector. The first Filsan invested an additional $80,000 to purchase local company to provide high-quality seeds from Italy for packaging and distributed in commercial seeds to local farmers, Filsan is scaling its business model with support from USAID.

Somalia enjoys a robust agriculture sector. In order to supply the market with reliable seeds and seedlings, Filsan depends on top-notch facilities and technologies. In 2018, the company invested $1.9 million to establish a large seed processing factory in Mogadishu, along with 60 hectares of demonstration farms in Afgoye. This year, GEEL’s agriculture value chain team installed a new, USAID-funded seed packaging machine at Filsan for maize, sorghum, cow pea, and vegetable seeds. The machine will make the packaging process more efficient and will increase the company’s sales and broaden its distribution network in Somalia.Thanks to additional USAID support, GEEL worked with Filsan to set up a greenhouse and shade nets to strengthen banana and fruit tree seedling supply systems for customers.

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

Somalia. The company is expected to create more than 200 new jobs over the next 12-18 months. Filsan customer Mohamed Abukar Yusuf, who farms five hectares of land in Jabalul, said

“Filsan is the only company in Somalia providing quality seeds and modern technology that helps us increase our production.”

“Without GEEL’s support...it would have been difficult for Filsan to realize its dream to become the first official seed company in Somalia.” Since bananas typically do not produce seeds, farmers use cell tissue from pieces of mature plants, like new offshoots, to propagate new trees. The process is delicate and requires modern equipment to ensure plant survival. This quarter, USAID supported Filsan with an in-kind grant for equipment to furnish its banana tissue culture laboratory and GEEL’s technical team supported procurement of the equipment. The healthy and hardy tissue cultures cultivated on-site at Filsan are expected to boost productivity and meet global quality standards. Preliminary test trials of newly introduced banana tissue culture indicate increased yields of about 30 percent. To help ensure positive outcomes, the GEEL team led trainings for Filsan staff on tissue development, equipment use, and good laboratory practices. Filsan will replicate the trainings for its technicians and begin producing banana planting

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materials to supply farms in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. Encouraged by this USAID grant, Filsan committed an additional investment for more laboratory equipment. Strategic co-investments like these have exciting ripple effects. By supporting a leading agriculture company to scale its production and reinvest revenue in growth, USAID is contributing to positive outcomes for thousands of Somali farmers. In addition, commercial exporters and other local agribusinesses can rely on high quality seeds, fruits, and vegetables, as well as efficient distribution networks from Filsan, to improve the quality and quantity of their own products. As Filsan Executive Director Hussein Hajji said, “Without GEEL’s support (both technical and financial), it would have been difficult for Filsan to realize its dream to become the first official seed company in Somalia.”


Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

USAID Leadership Attend Mogadishu Trade Symposium

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he USAID/GEEL project and its government and business partners have made important strides towards boosting equitable and sustainable economic growth in Somalia. Since 2015, GEEL has supported more than 7,000 local enterprises who have created more than

USAID Administrator Mark Green browses some of the fruit and vegetable products from GEEL partner businesses. Photo credit: Abdikarim Ahmed/GEEL.

2,700 full-time jobs and generated $29 million in export sales, with 5,400 more jobs expected by September of 2020.The project has also supported Somali businesses to showcase their products at international forums like the Gulfood Trade Expo, the world’s largest food exposition in Dubai and the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Qingdao. At events like these, entrepreneurs attract new regional and international customers and draw attention to Somalia’s growing economy. In June 2019, the project brought together key partners with USAID and US government leadership to assess progress, challenges, and opportunities

for the project and the Somali private sector. Approximately 40 Somali businesses participated in the two-day trade symposium in Mogadishu where they participated in a unique opportunity to engage decision-makers, including US Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto, USAID Administrator Mark Green, and Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken. The businesses highlighted Somalia’s high-value economic sectors, and ranged from the womanowned Somfresh Fruits and Vegetables Company, to Irmaan Dairy, to Sundus Fishing Company. At a marketplace-style exhibition, GEEL partner businesses who have benefitted from USAID support like technical advice and investments, displayed their products and services for visitors. US government and USAID leadership spoke with private sector stakeholders and learned about highimpact collaborations between GEEL and some of the Somali businesses that are actively contributing to the growing economy, generating employment opportunities, and improving livelihoods. Mr. Green said of the event, “I caught a small glimpse of Somalia’s vibrant private sector and the future that can be.” The forum also included sector-specific discussion groups led by senior industry representatives and GEEL experts on value chains like livestock (meat and dairy), fish, and agriculture. Participants focused on the economic achievements of USAID

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

investments and on future strategies to meet private sector needs. Dedication among GEEL staff, private sector leaders, government officials, and USAID representatives will ensure that Somali businesses continue to provide to local customers and earn much-deserved attention—and revenue— from international markets.

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Issue #8 September 2019

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Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

Business-to-Business Event in Baidoa Leads with Resilience

omalia’s Southwest State (SWS) was once considered the country’s breadbasket, historically supplying the country with sorghum, beans, fruits, meat, and fish products. Yet, more than 60 percent of productive farmland now sits idle as the result of conflict and drought, according to Speaker of the SWS Parliament Abdilkadir Sharif. In his opening speech at a two-day July event in Baidoa, the speaker welcomed GEEL investments and urged swift action in the face of ongoing food insecurity. Approximately 100 people attended the high-level conference organized by GEEL, which focused on building resilience and strengthening market systems. Hosted at the palace of the SWS President, participants included senior government officials, private sector stakeholders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), GEEL technical staff, and representatives of the local business community. Much of the conference was dedicated to discussions on resilient economic growth in SWS, which has significant inland and coastal resources. The priority task at hand is to boost food security and reduce humanitarian need by supporting businesses in sustainable farming, fishing, and dairy production. Between discussion sessions and presentations, the participants browsed a marketplace exhibit space that showcased local goods, along with sample products and services from other Somalia federal

member states, that served as inspiration for business development. The SWS president and others expressed how impressed they were with the displays that included high-quality seeds, veterinary drugs, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, sesame, canned and bottled foods, chilies, and dairy products. Entrepreneurship filled the air—business discussions even dominated the lunch tables! The participants formed a consensus that the private sector is crucial to developing resilience for SWS. GEEL and like-minded NGOs working in SWS laid out their planned activities, with a special focus on supporting enterprise and employment among youth and women. GEEL was also able to point to private sector achievements elsewhere in Somalia as examples of potential impact in SWS. Participants suggested exciting, multi-sector collaborations like using fish waste as fertilizer on farms and bringing innovative rain harvesting methods to irrigate land used by agriculture, meat, and dairy businesses. According to Federal Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Hamud Ali Hassan, “Somali people are focused on quality and innovation. They keep working and creating businesses despite the odds.” With a new office opening in SWS, the USAID/GEEL project is committed to collaborative, resilience-oriented growth in the region.

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

Businesses in the agriculture and other sectors took opportunities to network and engage SWS leadership, like the President, seen here with high-level officials, on the value of private sectorfocused resilience initiatives. Photo credit: Abdikarim Ahmed/GEEL.

Part of an inclusive, multi-stakeholder initiative to boost resilience in SWS, organizations like GEEL and Mercy Corps participated in the forum. Photo credit: Abdikarim Ahmed/GEEL. 8


Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

Data-Driven Fisheries Management Supports Sustainable Lobster Populations

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untland’s first lobster monitoring and management program has launched! Under guidance from a GEEL fisheries scientist, local NGO Homboboro Relief and Rehabilitation Organization (HRRO) has established a seminal long-term program to track and preserve local lobster fisheries. This quarter, the team wrapped up data collection that has continued since 2018. With more than 200 port monitoring surveys under its belt, HRRO is providing critical information on catch data that will help inform fisheries management strategies.

year. This data can be used to make decisions about when to close fisheries for rehabilitation of lobster numbers. Excitingly, data from the surveys indicates that Puntland’s lobster fishery is a prime candidate for technical assistance and management measures that can help Somali fishers to fish smarter, more efficiently, and more sustainably.The GEEL team is developing fisheries management advice that will contribute to healthier lobster stocks and have direct and positive economic impact on coastal communities.

The surveys include data points like catch per unit effort, which measures the health and Based on survey data like the below CPU graph, efficiency of a fish or seafood stock. The research government and private sector can better team discovered, for example, that catch per unit understand trends to identify preferred intereffort is highest in the beginning of the calendar ventions to protect fish stocks.

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

Agritech Brings New Angle to Somaliland Agribusiness The Agritech launch ceremony included a products display to showcase the broad variety of inputs sold by this one-stop agribusiness shop. Photo credit: Erin Wolgamuth for GEEL.

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or Somali farmers, access to modern equipment, tools, seeds, and other inputs is crucial for sustained growth and for products like fruits and vegetables that are competitive in Somalia and beyond. Technical advice about how to use those farm inputs to maximize yield helps ensure that money invested will generate revenue. Driven to bring high quality of production to Somali farmers, and with support from USAID/GEEL, Agritech co-owners Ahmed Gas and Mohamed Ibrahim are supplying agriculture inputs, including some of the lowest-cost technologies locally available, through their one-stop shop. Based in Hargeisa, Agritech provides farmers with a comprehensive assortment of climate-smart inputs

from greenhouses to certified seeds, and protective uniforms for safe use of its products. Agritech also shares know-how: its in-house agronomists conduct on-farm soil testing, train customers on how to operate equipment, and are available to support farmers throughout the growing season. While the company follows in the footsteps of agribusinesses like Horn Gardens, another GEEL partner that pioneered this one-stop shop model, Agritech has carved out a unique market position.

The company sources materials from across the globe and assembles them locally; as a result, Agritech can offer equipment at a lower price point than competitors. Having procured a pipe bending machine operated in-house, Agritech positioned itself as the sole Somaliland supplier of customized greenhouses sizes.The company offers services to a broad range of customers, from women who grow household vegetables in their urban backyards to commercial farmers. This quarter, GEEL support Agritech to officially launch its new retail location. The opening ceremony was attended by a USAID delegation, government officials, agribusiness representatives, financial service providers, and Somali students of agriculture. In addition to remarks shared by USAID/Somalia Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken, speakers included Dr. Ali Ahmed Maah, Director General of the Somaliland Ministry of Agriculture, and Amina Farah Arshe, Fisheries Director of the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce. More than 40 participants attended the event, which included an official ribbon cutting, a question and answer session with GEEL technical experts, and a retail shop display encompassing Agritech’s main products and services. In addition to facilitating the launch, the GEEL agriculture team has supported Agritech with advice on marketing, customer engagement, and providing technical services to its customers for long-term success. Agritech invested $11,000 of its own funds into the shop. The GEEL investments team is also supporting Agritech to build a customer base by designing

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Issue #8 September 2019

Saamaynta Ganacsiga The USAID / GEEL Project Newsletter

GEEL staff attend the launch opening in support of Agritech as a contributor to various value chains. Photo credit: Erin Wolgamuth for GEEL.

vendor financing packages for commercial farm owners. Through the package, buyers can purchase

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equipment in instalments over a period of months, which allows them to use harvest sales from the next season to finance their investment. As of the summer of 2019, a total of 15 farms, mainly owned by women and youth, have been supported via vendor financing packages from Agritech. GEEL is also developing a greenhouse installation package in collaboration with Premier Bank. The package will be piloted with women farmers who attended the USAID-sponsored Access to Finance for Women in Business event in Hargeisa in 2018 and will include reduced financing rates, increased terms, and repayment holidays.

Protecting Sea Cucumber Stocks and Mangrove Habitat

n Jubaland, sea cucumbers are an important resource for coastal livelihoods and ecosystems. Typically gathered by snorkelers, scuba divers, or gleaners at low tide, at least 60 species are harvested in Kismayo for export to Asian markets with retail prices of up to $500 per kilogram. As a

result of this high market value, exploitation of sea cucumber stocks has become a major problem for environmental sustainability.Worldwide overfishing has led to local extinction of the species in some areas and prompted closure of many national fisheries in order to regenerate stocks.

“Mangrove trees are vital habitat for some commerial fish species. After 40 years, only 20% of Somalia’s mangroves remain.” Mangrove forests are common along Somalia’s rehabilitation will benefit from control measures, southern riverine banks, where they stand as high like establishing minimum size limits to protect as 45 feet.They tend to grow in thick clusters along juveniles, monitoring catch or tree cutting and estuaries, swamps and coasts in tropical climates, export, and closing fisheries or other strategic where they anchor themselves with strong root areas during spawning seasons. systems and stabilize the land to harbor many animals, which makes them critical to the fisheries Zamid has recommended a community-centered sector as they provide habitat for many juvenile, approach to rehabilitation efforts, like establishing commercial fish species. Unfortunately, mangroves local committees to oversee resource management are also exploited for their timber, are cleared for activities and increasing local knowledge about the settlements along Somalia’s rivers, and are currently value of mangrove habitats to local landscapes, and threatened in Somalia without laws to protect them. to the economy. The firm also suggested linking The most reliable estimates from 1975 indicate a different rehabilitation sites for collaborative advice total mangrove area of 10,000 hectares; as of 2015, and support. In this quarter, Zamid identified a few locations for pilot sustainability activities, and are this figure was reduced to only 2,000 hectares. undertaking additional research that will enable In July, Zamid Consulting conducted research GEEL to best advise the government on policy on behalf of the USAID/GEEL project into development. improved management of sea cucumber and mangrove habitats in Jubaland. Specifically, the firm set out to determine the best locations and types of interventions that would contribute to rehabilitation, with participation by the local ministry. While some residents and government institutions have taken up rehabilitation measures independently, these resources need more support to ensure their longevity. Both sea cucumber fisheries management and mangrove habitat 12


Who We Are The USAID/Somalia Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods (GEEL) Project addresses challenges and opportunities that are common among multiple economic sectors in Somalia and builds the capacity of internal investors as well as the Somali diaspora eager to invest in business opportunities. GEEL prioritizes opportunities in industries likely to attract women and youth, who have been marginalized from pursuing economic opportunities in the past.

This document is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.) The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of International Resources Group (IRG) Ltd and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

GEEL is continuously working with Somalis in the private sector and government to attract capital investment to create new businesses and expand existing ones. Somalia is going through a unique and progressive transformation, and as the country continues to engage more with the international market, were are deepening our support to the burgeoning private sector to take advantage of the immense trade opportunities available globally. Saamaynta Ganacsiga means “Impact in Trade� in Somali language, and reflects our goal of keeping partners informed and engaged through this newsletter. Each quarter, we share exciting developments and provide you with a selection of stories, news, events and resources to help everyone from producers, community members, businesses and consumers stay apprised of our activities.


Profile for GEEL Somali

Saamaynta Ganacsiga / Quarterly Newsletter #8  

The September 2019 quarterly newsletter for the Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods (GEEL) project, funded by USAID. Check out some...

Saamaynta Ganacsiga / Quarterly Newsletter #8  

The September 2019 quarterly newsletter for the Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods (GEEL) project, funded by USAID. Check out some...

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