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The Challenges Facing Somaliland Livestock Traders
By Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed, Hargeysa,
The business community was working hard to survive right from the inception of Somaliland. They were working severe circumstances for the last decade and half, and even some time security was critical. Still the environment is not promising. They are working without Banking, Insurance; reliable electricity; traveling documents; Appropriate laws, the list is endless.
Although, for the last decade and so, the country was peaceful, but obstacles were great and circumstances were at a stake! They played crucial role in disarming, reconciliation, demobilization, reconstruction, Democratization and building a free society.
After, the Livestock ban of Saudi Arabia, five years ago, the only market of Somali livestock was Yemen, and few Gulf countries.
Early March, Yemen Authority, Imposed new law which, requests two week quarantine in Yemen soil instead of
Berbera or any other place. It was a critical days for both Livestock traders, pastoralists as well as the Government which badly needs the income of livestock export for several reasons. Even if, traders try to implement the law, it was not possible to obey it!
On March, President Dahir Rayale paid in Yemen an official visit, he met Somaliland Business community in Yemen, one day before he met with his counterpart. They briefed him, and his delegation for the situation in Yemen as a whole, and the difficulties facing their businesses.
After long discussions Yemen accepted to stop the pre- condition of purchasing Somali livestock. On the other hand, Yemen requested Somaliland Government to ensure proper vaccination of every head. Hence, the delegation was fully accepted, and committed to implement it without further delay. This was golden chance for the minister of Livestock, and indeed, who was eager to gain such a chance!
If, this minister had an iota of experience it is sabotage. The ministry is weak as an institution, its capacity is extremely limited and most of the experienced officers either, are idle or taken their bags at the ministry. On the other hand, after three years at the ministry no effort he made to evaluate the meager salary of employees- let a lone training. Very low number of professional veterinarians available in Somaliland is a major obstacle. The number of professional veterinarians in Somaliland is estimated at 150. This is too low considering our vast geographical area and large livestock population, and no effort was made to train new professional veterinarians or even to
Stimulate the sheikh veterinary school. Although, the ministry of Livestock have the responsibility for providing services that ensure veterinary animal health such vaccination against infectious Diseases and ensuring that exports of livestock minimum requirements but still, it is Far from doing what it was to do.
Livestock production and exports will continue to dominate the Somaliland Economy and be the most important source of household income and economic growth for decades to come. After the general destruction due to over-grazing, charcoal production, deforestation and social erosion, no effort was made to reforestation of trees.
If, Somaliland wants to regain access to the lost market of Saudi Arabia five years ago the ministry should improve export inspection and Certification procedures of livestock.
On the other hand, SWOT analysis is important for various reasons:
To name some of the failures of the current minister of Livestock:-
To strengthen public and private veterinary and Para-veterinary services;
To prepare a proposal of erudition of the Epizootic livestock diseases;
To implement the rolling quarantine inspection system for livestock but make it more reliable, less costly, and less stressful for animals;
To prepare a proposal for an improved livestock inspection and export certification process for Somaliland ports;
Latest crisis manufactured by the current Minister of Livestock
One, he divided to the Somaliland veterinary Association and created new one for his ego; two, he banned to the Eastern regions for free vaccinations for their livestock, and the Agency diverted its program to Gedo Region, three, he tried to divide the Association of livestock traders in order to escape a critique although he failed, for various reasons; fourth, he rejected to implement orders given by the president, to stop illegal taxation without delay; six, he sabotaged EXCELLES Project persistently; seven, he rejected proposals propounded by the chamber of commerce, he paused the rehabilitation of Berbera Quarantine funded by Islamic Development Bank, for two years; while his duty was to stimulate every agency which is willing to do some thing in our beloved Country. Anyway, these actions and many others are not overlook but a deliberate attempt to destroy the only source of income for most of the Somaliland population, especially, pastoralists which their life completely depends as well as his government which currently fed –up ignorant and arrogant ministers.
Finally, although, president Rayaale, had warned on two occasions, the current incompetent Livestock minister; but Rayaale have been soft on this incompetent minister from get go. This time it is high time for President Rayaale to clinch either the minister or the Association of Somaliland Livestock traders the choice is for him.
There is, one thing for sure, the population will not accept to put his head in the sand like an ostrich. President Rayale must understand that the people have a choice.
Today, this ministry needs new face which is highly educated, wealth of experience, with vision, patriotism, decisive decision making, deep understanding of contemporary global issues, capacity to put in place for the shortest period a comprehensive livestock Health development program and ability to re- build good relationship with United Nation agencies, international NGOs as well as Local NGOs. The ultimate aim should be total co-ordination for all the governments in a coherent way.
Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed, Hargeysa, firstname.lastname@example.org