David Bergvinson, PhD, Chief Science Officer
A 2018 report titled Rebuilding Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture in Somalia outlined the challenges and opportunities for Somalia’s agriculture sector that have been impacted by the increasingly fragile and degraded natural environment as well as more frequent and severe cycles of drought and flooding.
Agriculture’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) is approximately 75% in Somalia, and represents 93% of total exports, mostly linked to livestock, sesame, and lemon exports. Reductions in domestic crop production and increasing domestic food demand has led to a massive increase in food imports, which makes the population vulnerable to global food price increases and shocks.
The good news is that Somalia has recently received enough localized rains to support crops to avert massive hunger. Based on weather mapping by aWhere, several administrative regions (See green cells on adjacent map) have experienced better than expected rains to support crops with the precipitation divided by potential evapotranspiration (P/PET) being above 0.7. However, areas like Shabeellaha Dhexe have been very dry (See red cells on map, P/PET < 0.7) so crops will likely fail. This dry region is home to approximately 2.7 million people out of Somalia’s total population of approximately 11 million. The need for accurate weather data to increase the economic resilience and food security of countries like Somalia is urgently needed to adapt to climate change.