Issued: 18 June 2010
Pasture and Water Conditions
Most of the recent rain deficit areas of northern Somalia, with the exception of pockets of Guban, Gabi valley, Coastal Deeh of Iskushuban and Dharoor/Karkaar valley of Bari region, have generally received normal to above normal rains of high intensity. The rains alleviated cumulative water stress, particularly in drought stricken areas of Sanaag that suffered from water shortages for the past four seasons. Boreholes were shut off and water trucking has ceased completely as communal dams, natural ponds, private water catchments and berkads have fully replenished, while water levels increased in boreholes, shallow wells, streams and dry rivers. As pasture, browse and water conditions were significantly poor in the past 3 to 4 seasons, unusual rains during past Jilaal followed by normal to above normal Gu rains, helped in rapid regeneration of fodder and pasture and significantly improved both the ground surface and sub-surface water levels. However, pockets of livelihood zones of Guban, Gebi valley of Sanaag, Coastal Deeh of Iskushuban and Dharoor/Karkaar valley of Bari region remain dry with localized showers not replenishing the main water sources and improve pasture conditions.
In the central regions (Mudug and Galgadud) and Hiran, key pastoral areas of Hawd, Addun and Southern Inland Pastoral livelihoods, as well as most of the central Cowpea Belt Agropastoral, have finally came out of the prolonged drought that has continued since Deyr 2007/08. Normal to above normal Gu rainfall, which was preceded by unseasonal localized normal rains during Jilaal period, have fully recovered pasture and replenished water (berkads, communal dams and natural ponds) sources. Water trucking has stopped in the Hawd and most parts of the Addun livelihood and water prices have plummeted in most pastoral areas of central regions and Hiran, as free rain water has become available in most basins, berkads, ponds and communal dams. However, Coastal Deeh and pockets of Cowpea Belt of Central and Hiran Agropastoral received limited rainfall, which resulted in further deterioration of both pasture and water conditions.
In southern Somalia, Gu rains were normal to above normal in terms of coverage and intensity, however, pockets of Tieglow and the Coastal Deeh of Shabelle and Juba regions, received localized poor rains, resulting in limited pasture and water availability. In most parts of the South, however, rains have fully replenished water sources and improved rangeland conditions.
Due to normal to above normal rainfall in most parts of Somalia, normal livestock migration has resumed throughout the country for the first time since Deyr 2006/07. Most of the out-migrated livestock of central and northern regions, have returned to their areas of origin that received normal Gu rains. Namely, pastoralists from Sool Plateau of Sanaag region who migrated to Bari and Sool regions 3-4 seasons ago, have returned to their settlements exploiting the remarkably improved pasture and water resources. Similarly, Hawd and Addun pastoralists of Central have returned from out-migration in Somali region of Ethiopia that occurred in Gu 2008. The livestock in localized rain deficit areas of Coastal Deeh and Dharoor/Karkaar valley of Iskushuban district and Guban livelihood zone of Sanaag have migrated to the neighboring livelihood zone of Sool Plateau of Bari and Sanaag regions, to benefit from improved pasture resources of these regions.
Livestock Body Conditions and Production
Sheep and goats in the areas of Central (Mudug, Galgaduud and Hiran regions) and the North (Sanag, Sool, Togdheer and upper Bari), have begun to recover from the effects of the recurrent droughts and successive poor seasonal rainfalls and are in good to average body conditions. However, camel body conditions are still recovering. In Awdal, W. Galbeed, Bari and Nugal regions, livestock body conditions have also improved significantly as a result of two successive seasons of normal to above normal rains, coupled with unseasonal rains during Jilaal period. The recovery of small ruminants in the regions of Central and Hiran resulted in high conception rates and a slight increase in milk production. Return of the out-migrated camel (since Gu 2008) to central regions, have also contributed to slightly improved milk availability on the markets. Significant lambing and kidding rates have been observed in the northern and central regions and are expected to increase in June and July, which will lead to improved goat milk accessibility both for household consumption as well as for sale. However, milk production is low for the camel that remained in central regions during drought years, due to low calving in Deyr 2009/10 and increased conception in Gu 2010.
Livestock body conditions have improved in the South, due to significant increase in pasture and water availability as a result of the compound effect of unseasonal rains in March and above normal rainfall in April and May. However, cattle in rain deficit areas of Tieglow (Bakool) are weak and have yet to recover from the poor Deyr 2009/10 and the consequent harsh Jilaal dry season. Overall, in southern Somalia cattle and camel conception rates are medium and milk production has significantly improved. Calving rates are fairly low for the camel as they have moderately calved during Deyr 2009/10, while a high cattle calving is expected in the coming Hagaa season. However, market supply of milk is poor, as pastoralists have not returned to areas close to main towns, where they typically sell their milk.
Livestock Trade, Prices and Terms of Trade
Overall livestock exports have significantly increased since December 2009, but are still lower compared to the peak export season during Ramadan (July/August) and Hajj (November). In May 2010, livestock exports from Bossaso Port (59,662 head) were 30% higher than in December 2009, but 32% lower compared to May last year. Total livestock exports from Berbera port (60,620 head) were 10 times higher than in December 2009 (5,983 head) and 57% higher than in May 2009 (38,625 head). The increased exports of live animal is attributed to improved pasture and water throughout the country, resulting in the increased number of export quality livestock, as well as improved access to export markets following the livestock export ban lifting by Saudi Arabia last October 2009. As a result, carcass meat exports have completely ceased as the demand for live animals increased.
Livestock prices in May 2010 are at record high levels for the last five years in most markets of the country. Currently, local goat prices in the Sorghum Belt, Shabelle and Juba regions are 26%, 2% and 12% higher, compared to December 2009, respectively. In the regions of Northwest and Central, the respective goat prices were 64% and 5% higher for the same period of comparison, owing to improved livestock body conditions in this Gu season. In the Northeast, local goat price has slightly declined (2%) since December 2009, due to high market supply by pastoralists in-migrated to the area during Deyr 2009/10, and currently selling their animals to payoff the debts incurred during past Jilaal season.
In the last six months, the average terms of trade between goat and cereals have improved in Sorghum Belt (21%), Northwest (48%) and Central (5%). However, the ToT has declined in Shabelle (28%), Juba (19%) and Northeast (12%) in the same period due to significant increase in cereal prices in these regions. Compared to the 5-year average (June 2005 – May 2010) the ToT was lower in the last month in Central (rice), Juba (maize) and Sorghum Belt (sorghum), while it maintained the same level in Shabelle and increased in northern regions (Figures 7 and 8). When comparing the ToT between local goat and local cereals (maize and sorghum), the highest ToT was recorded in Baidoa market (167 kg sorghum/head) of Bay region - the major sorghum producing region in Somalia. By zones, the ToT was highest (129kg maize/head) in Shabelle valley, while the Northeast exhibited the lowest ToT (68kg sorghum/head), due to extra costs incurred by transportation of sorghum from producing regions of southern Somalia.