Agropastoralists under the threat of ecological and economic changes

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1 Agropastoralists under the threat of ecological and economic changes Korahe Agropastoral Livelihood Zone (Sorghum and Cattle and Shoats) Sheygosh, Kebri dahar and Dobowein Districts of Korahe Zone, Somali National Regional State, Ethiopia Dagah-bour Zone Sheygosh Fik Zone Kebri dahar Korahe Zone Warder Zone Gode Zone Dobowein Shilabo Faafan Valley Agropastoral LZ (sorghum and cattle) Gode/ Korahe Pastoral LZ (Camel, shoats, cattle) Lowland Pastoral LZ (Camel, shoats & Birkad dependent) Somalia An HEA Baseline Study By SC UK, DPPB and Partners March, 2004 Sponsored by USAID/OFDA and ECHO, with additional financial support from SC Canada and WFP

2 Assessment Team Name of the participant Position Organization Role Abdi fatah Ahmed Ismail FSA SC UK, Jijiga Technical assistance and Report write up Abdul Ilah Ugas ZFSO SC UK, Korahe Team leader Mohamed Dahir A. Kadir ZFSO SC UK, Warder Team member Hassen Mohammed EW Expert DPPD, Korahe Team member Kafi Mohamed Garuf EW Expert DPPD, Warder Team member LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral i

3 Table of Contents Assessment Team...i Table of Contents...ii Figures, Tables & Maps...iii Terms and Acronyms...iv 1. Executive Summary Introduction Purpose of the study Methodology Background Geographical location of Korahe Agro Ecology, Geology, & Water History Population Infrastructure & Social Services Other Activities in the Zone Other issues in the Zone Livelihood Zones in the Administrative District Food Economies The Livelihood Zone Historical Timeline Seasonal Calendar Other information particular to the LZ Wealth Breakdown Food Sources in the Reference Year Income Sources in the Reference Year Expenditure Patterns in the Reference Year Current Situation Vulnerabilities, Risks & Coping Indicators to monitor Conclusions & Recommendations Conclusions Recommendations References Appendices HEA Methodology Note on Somali Traditional Calendar List of Kebeles in Korahe Agropastoral Livelihood Zone Other Information LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral ii

4 Figures, Tables & Maps Figure 1 Population Distribution of LZ 11 per District Figure 2 Seasonal Calendar for Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 3 Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 4 Food Sources for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 5 Food Basket for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 6 Income Totals for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 7 Income Sources for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 8 Expenditure Totals for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 9 Expenditure Pattern for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 10 Proportional Expenditure on Food for all Wealth Groups in Korahe Agropastoral LZ Figure 11 Prices and Terms of Trade in Kebridahar Market ( ) Table 1 Livelihood Zones in Korahe Administrative Zone Table 2 Coverage of Korahe Agropastoral LZ Table 3 Historical Timeline for Korahe Agropastoral LZ Table 4 Seasonal rivers important for flood recession farming Table 5 Wealth Characteristics Table 6 Vulnerabilities, Risks & Coping Strategies per Wealth Group Table 7 Monitoring Indicators for Korahe Agropastoral LZ Table 8 Permanent water sources in Korahe zone Table 9 Chronically water insecure areas of Korahe Zone Table 10 The medical staff of Kebri dahar Hospital Table 11 Endemic human diseases and their seasonality Table 12 Endemic livestock diseases and their seasonality Table 13 Distribution of schools by grade in Korahe zone Map 1 Livelihood Zones in Korahe administrative Zone LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral iii

5 Terms and Acronyms ACF Banjab Biile Birkad Candhoqoys Ciid Dareemo Deyr Dhijaamo Dhikil Dibir Doox Dul DWC ECHO LZ Garbooyin Goob Gu Hagaa Horwayn Irman Jilaal /Qoraxeed Laaso Miigayn Maxaansugi Nugul OFDA Sariir SC UK TTI Tuuryo USAID WFB Xaas Action Contre La Faim Flooding of the agricultural plains inside the Fafan valley by the Fafan River, when the flood flow covers the Korahe bridge for 24 consecutive hours A grass species that mostly grows in grazing plains and flat lands Cemented water reservoir commonly dug in the areas with no permanent water sources; The major part of the gu rains A land dominantly formed by red sand soils and with thick vegetation and grassy plains. Mostly no permanent water sources, so birkads are the main water sources; One of the most important grass species that sustains the livestock across the dry season when there are sufficient rains to grow it in the wet season The short rainy season between October and December Water catchment (also garbooyin) A prominent grass species that mostly grows in flood prone river banks and river beds of valley areas and is used by livestock as a feed A land featured by white and stony soils mostly composed of white rock soil (chalk stone soil), mostly with grazing quality grasses. It is known for its highly saline water and the growth of acacia trees. Lower altitude valley area, relatively hotter, mostly suitable for agricultural use An area in a plateau land that has a higher altitude and is mostly windy and cooler Dabatag Wild life conservation European Commission Humanitarian Office Livelihood Zone Water catchment (also dhijaamo) A dominant form of social support used for mass cultivation, weeding and harvesting, mainly practiced by better off households who can afford it. The major rainy season between early April and June The short dry season between July and September The very active and mobile group of the livestock herd The lactating animals of the xaas group The major dry season between late December and March Shallow well Style of planting crops or sowing seeds with a pointed peg like stick. Instant germinating grass species that fades soon after the rains break for a few days Livestock vulnerable to drought (sheep and cows) USAID Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance 0.5 hectare (also Tuuryo) Save the Children UK Teachers Training Institute? 0.5 hectare (also Sariir) United States Agency for International Development World Food Programme Less mobile part of the herd, mainly lactating, old, weak and very young animals LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral iv

6 1. Executive Summary This report aims to provide a baseline of socio economic information for the population living in the Korahe Agropastoral Livelihood Zone. It is one of a number of baseline studies jointly carried out in Somali Region by Save the Children UK and the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) of Somali National Regional State (SNRS), Ethiopia, intended to improve food security monitoring and early warning. The Korahe Agropastoral Livelihood Zone falls mainly in the plains along the Fafaan River valley. It is fairly central within the Somali Region, and borders the Lowland Hawd Pastoral Livelihood zone to the east, the Degahbur Agropastoral Livelihood Zone to the north, and the Korahe Gode Pastoral Livelihood Zone to the west. Nugul species (vulnerable to drought) are reared mostly sheep and goats (shoats) and cattle; however some camels are kept by better off households. Sorghum and some maize are cultivated by means of flood recession and rain fed farming. Flood recession crop production takes place predominantly in the Fafaan River valley (serving Kebridahar and Dobowein Districts mostly), which flood waters come from the north west of Jijiga Zone (although deepening gullies which limit flooding are a threat); other seasonal river floods are also used, but crop production there is more vulnerable to local rainfall failure. Rain fed farming is less prevalent and is vulnerable to rainfall failure. Sorghum is grown in preference to maize: it is more drought resistant and higher yielding than maize. Goob is the main form of social support for farming activities. In normal years migration does not involve leaving the Fafaan River valley. Even in bad years migration tends to remain within the zone, as further afield pasture is distant and uncertain, and the travel itself would be detrimental to already weakened livestock and people. Land is owned individually but socially managed by the clan. Water is mostly accessed through the seasonal rivers, wells in the Fafaan river bed and birkads (artificial concrete surface water reservoirs). Sheygosh and southern/south eastern Dobowein are vulnerable to water shortages: Sheygosh has only two permanent boreholes; all other water sources are seasonal. Purchase of cereals and sugar, own crop production and food aid are the main food sources; poor families also receive gifts. Livestock sale is the main income source for all wealth groups, and the main expenditure is food purchase. Kebridahar town has the biggest market, linked to Bosaso for imported goods, to Bura o for food and to Mogadishu and Hargeisa to a lesser extent. Other important markets are Shilabo (linked to Dagahbour), Dobowein and Sheygosh towns. Sorghum comes from Balatweyn and Qansaxdhere (Somalia) in bad years. Livestock market trade is mostly for local consumption, but irregular trade with traders from Somalia and Kenya is also important. The Gulf livestock ban has had a negative impact on demand and prices. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 5

7 The main constraints to productivity include poor traditional crop growing practices, the absence of extension services, gully erosion, diseases and pests. Livestock production is constrained by disease, increasing predator attacks and recurrent droughts limiting pasture and water availability. Markets have been seriously affected by the livestock ban and other cross border trade constraints. The reference year for this study was April 2002 March 2003, described as a belownormal year. Although the gu rains were below normal, flood recession crop production was near normal as the Fafaan and other seasonal river floods came from gu rains further afield. The deyr rains were very late and insufficient. The low rainfall meant that rain fed production failed entirely, and pasture and water availability was poor. Consequently there was livestock and population movement to Warder, Gode, Nogobyaray, Danan and Shinile of Danan. Overall crop production was about 50% of normal, and unusually high numbers of livestock were sold as a coping strategy. Generally poor and lower middle income groups had to rely on loans, gifts and food aid to meet their food needs. Drought, livestock disease, market fluctuations, crop failure and human disease are the main risks for this population. Main responses include having diversified livestock holdings, livestock migration and splitting, and selling crops and livestock when marketing opportunities are good. Poor households also engage in gum and firewood collection and seek support from relatives. Access to health services is poor throughout the zone: there is one clinic in each of Dobowein, Shegosh and Shilabo District towns, and 13 health posts dispersed throughout the rest of the zone; there are shortages of essential drugs and trained staff and poor levels of equipment. There are no livestock health facilities in the zone. Access to education is poor, with insufficient schools, particularly above primary level, poor facilities and poor teacher attendance/quality. Communications are poor: only Kebridahar town has reasonable telephone services, Shilabo town has very limited telephone services, and the rest of the zone no telephone services at all. The main road in the zone is the Gode Dagahbour road, which is in poor condition; the rest are seasonal feeder roads. Kebridahar town has electricity for 6 hours a day. At the time of the study poor deyr rains had resulted in a below normal food security situation: poor crop performance, pasture and water availability and poor livestock production and significant livestock migrations (although still within the zone), were compounded by high cereal prices and low livestock prices in most areas. People and livestock had to trek long distances to get water, and many households had reduced both quantity and number of meals, and resorted to bush product collection and seeking credit. The main recommendations include the introduction of modern agricultural inputs and practices, improvement of water harvesting and soil/gully erosion control mechanisms, improved health and veterinary services, development of irrigation systems, improved predator control, asset building, and improving market access and price stabilising mechanisms. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 6

8 2. Introduction 2.1 Purpose of the study In the past there has been a chronic scarcity of socio economic baseline information in Somali Region, which has made it very difficult for decision makers (Government, aid agencies and donors) to make decision on both short term and long term interventions. On occasions, such as the 1999/2000 drought, this inability to make quick decisions has had catastrophic consequences for the people of the Region. In an attempt to prevent such occurrences in the future, a project aimed at improving the Food Security Monitoring and Early Warning (FS/EW) capacity of the Region was established. This project is a joint effort by Save the Children UK (SC UK) and the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) of Somali National Regional State (SNRS), Ethiopia 1. The objective of the pilot phase of the project was to collect baseline information on livelihoods and develop a workable model for food security monitoring that will be built into government structures throughout the Region in Phase II This report is one of 13 other Household Economy baseline assessment reports that have been produced by the project, during the periods of September October 2001 and January March Participating organisations in these baseline assessments included: DPPB (together with all DPPD offices), SC UK, WFP, SC USA, ACF, HCS, PCAE, OWS, OWDA and Al Najah Charity. The baseline exercise comprised of classroom training, three weeks of fieldwork and one week of analysis and write up. Based on a reference or typical year, baseline reports were compiled for households belonging to the specific Livelihood Zone (LZ). The reports provide both qualitative and quantitative information on the normal mode of survival and the vulnerabilities of the different livelihood groups found in the Region, as well as information on how they respond to crises. These reports supply decision makers with useful information to make informed decisions, which will facilitate timely and appropriate responses and prevent possible disasters. The information also sheds light on longer term food security issues and can therefore help in the planning of development initiatives. The information contained in this baseline study is specifically useful for humanitarian and development actors working in food, water and in human and livestock health sectors. The information will be a useful input for planning both emergency responses and development interventions in the areas covered by this livelihood zone. 1 The Food Security Monitoring and Early Warning (FS/EW) Project, in Somali Region, Ethiopia, is a joint undertaking by Save the Children UK and the Regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau. USAID/OFDA and ECHO fund the pilot phase (Year 1) of the project. Additional financial support was received from SC Canada and WFP. Partners in the baseline exercise included: WFP, ACF, SC USA, HCS, PCAE, Al Nejah Charity, OWDA, LVIA, and the Government Bureau of Livestock Environment and Crop Development. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 7

9 2.2 Methodology The Household Economy Approach (HEA) has been used as the assessment and analysis tool for the baseline studies. This Approach provides a rapid food security assessment technique and has been used by SC UK for a number of years in parts of Africa and Asia. For a brief introduction to the Household Economy Approach please refer to Appendix 9.1. For further details refer to The Household Economy Approach: A resource manual for practitioners by John Seaman, Paul Clarke, Tanya Boudreau, and Julius Holt. The sample taken as the basis of this study was twelve villages/sites that have been visited by the team for an interview. In every village/site, an initial key informants interview with elders (4 6) of different wealth backgrounds was taken as a preliminary step to study the overall view of the household economy and make a wealth categorization for the different socio economic groups. This was followed by three focus group interviews conducted separately with representatives of existing (locally defined) socio economic groups poor, middle and better off. Interview sessions were often gender balanced in the sense that nearly half of the interviewees were women. Representatives from each wealth group were asked about information pertaining to the livelihood of the socio economic group they represent. The respondents for each socioeconomic group were initially identified by the key informants and then carefully checked by the interviewers to ensure that the right interviewees are selected. Villages which fell into the same livelihood zone were selected and the selection based mainly on representativeness. The villages selected for interview should be distributed across the livelihood zone to ensure a geographical balance. The sources of population figures, altitude and rainfall figures are from emergency and development related reports (by ACF for instance) made by various agencies (NGOs and government) and for various purposes. However, the sources are also agencies like the central statistics authority, Meteorological Agency and Ethiopian mapping authority. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 8

10 3. Background 3.1 Geographical location of Korahe Korahe administrative Zone is one of the nine Zones of the Somali Regional State. The Zone borders with Dagah bour Zone in the north, Warder in the north east, Somalia s Hiran Region in the east, Gode Zone in the south and Fik in the West. Korahe Zone is constituted by four districts namely: Kebri dahar, Dobowein, Shilabo and Sheygosh which have population levels descending in that order. Kebri dahar town is the administrative headquarters of the Zone lies 370 km from Jijiga, the Regional capital, in the south. The Zone covers about 32,550 km 2 (source: SHAAC metrological and hydrological services). Dobowein is situated in the southern side of the Zone while Shilabo is in the eastern side, bordering with Regions of Somalia. Kebri dahar which remains the largest district both in population and geographical aspects encloses the western side, with large parts of the administrative territory falling into the centre of the Zone. Kebri dahar borders stretching up to Warder s Danot district and to Gode s Danan district in the north and south west respectively. Sheygosh is in the north western periphery of the Zone where it neighbours Fik Zone in the west, Dagah bour in the north and Kebri dahar district in the eastern and south eastern directions. 3.2 Agro Ecology, Geology, & Water Altitude & Climate Korahe is a low land semi arid Zone with an average rainfall ranging from 300mm to 400mm during normal years. Annual temperatures vary from 22 C in the coolest months of the year to 34C (source: ACF, Korahe) in the hottest months (during the kaliil late March to early April and late August to early October). The ciid areas, which mainly fall in Shilabo district and north eastern Kebri dahar, contain the highest elevations within the Zone and hence are relatively windier and cooler than other parts across the year. This is attributed to the higher altitude which allows unhindered circulation of air compounded by the effect of the red sand soils that naturally don t absorb sunlight and hence don t build up atmospheric temperature at ground level. Contrary to this are the agricultural plains in the doox (valley) depressions, better known as the Fafan valley, which are normally the hottest parts of Korahe throughout the year. As these doox areas are the lowest points by altitude and hence allow little flow and circulation of air, they remain hot and stuffy for most of the year. Another ecological factor, which partially explains why such areas are hotter than other parts of the Zone, is that the predominantly black clay soils characteristically absorb heat and thereby increase the level of temperature at ground level atmosphere. The doox areas cover large parts of Sheygosh, Kebri dahar and Dobowein districts and are normally the home for the agropastoral communities in the Zone. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 9

11 Rainfall & Water Sources Rainfall patterns and seasons of the year Within the context of a rain fed economy where both crop and livestock production performance is mainly determined by such variable factors as the onset, the amount and the duration of rainfall which is subject to fluctuations from one season to the other and from one year to the next as per the existing climatic conditions and seasonal weather patterns, the household food security situation is a consequence of such variations in rainfall condition and hence comprises a level of uncertainty. This implies that variations in the levels of food and income at household level are almost inevitable in different parts of the year. In the light of this, studying the seasons within the year and the production and consumption influencing factors is one of the initial steps towards a thorough understanding of the seasonal changes in the household access to food and income and hence to the normal ups and downs of household livelihood across the year. Besides, this can be an instrument to shed light on periods in which households are most vulnerable due to seasonal shifts in the livelihood picture as a result of the influence of uncontrollable underlying factors. Therefore, looking into the seasonal circumstances that surround the pastoral and agropastoral households as the season changes within the year may provide an insight into the potential opportunities and constraints in relation to access to food and income caused by these periodic changes in production due to climatic and seasonal factors. Regarding the climatic situation within Korahe, the year is broken down into four seasons, two of which are the gu and the deyr, the wet seasons of the year, with the first being the major rainy season. Contrary to these wet seasons are the jilal which is the long dry season and the hagaa, the short dry spell of the year. The traditional year begins with the gu, starting in April and ending in June, followed by the hagaa (the short dry season) which runs from July throughout September. Then there comes, in October, the short rainy season, the deyr, and continues until late December after which the long dry season sets in and stretches to the end of March. This marks the end of not only the long dry spell but also the end of the traditional production year. The wet season is normally the period in which quality pasture and water are most accessed. During this period, milk production is consistent, investment bearing activities are undertaken (e.g. restocking), household assets grow, social life is intense and the community develops. Therefore, as gu is normally the most important production season both in crop and livestock circles, it remains the one whose poor performance or failure affects pastoral/agropastoral livelihoods most through reducing or failing livestock production and crop yields, leading to reduced access to food and income at household level. The gu relieves the effects of the long dry season, the jilal, through establishing resources for recovery and prepares the communities to face the next dry period, the hagaa. Deyr plays a complementary role to the production impact by the gu (dayri wuxuu gu bixiyay ayay ku faantaa deyr claims as its own the resources established by the gu) as it often extends and refreshes the pastures grown under the gu season. Consequently, the status of pastures and water availability under the gu carries over to affect the performance of the subsequent deyr season. Therefore, deyr supplements the economic LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 10

12 and social life shaped under the gu. Under normal circumstances, gu is usually characterized by longer duration of rains than the deyr (heavy rains in April and May, with little showers in June) and therefore results in a better impact in terms of pasture regeneration, water replenishment, crop production enhancement and stabilizing and normalizing population mobility. In a normal deyr season, rains are heaviest in October and the first half of November, with only little or no rains in December. The gu rains are distinguished by the time they arrive (which month) and which part of the season they fall in. The first gu rains that come as early as March (the end of March kaliil) are locally known as todob rains while those coming at the usual starting time of the gu (April) are normally called candhoqys rains. These candhoqys rains are normally the main gu rains and usually continue till May after which the hays rains of the gu arrive in early June. Neither the todob nor the hays rains are as frequent as the candhoqys rains and their impact is not as important as that of the candhoqoys rains, which are the most important and production determining rains of the season. In a season where the candhoqys rains fail, pastoral/agropastoral feed (for livestock) and food (for humans) crisis is more likely to happen unless the hays rains turn out with exceptional intensity, coverage, frequency and duration. A very good candhoqoys rains in the first month of the season, will probably result in the replenishment of sufficient grazing for livestock but not crop production since crops will suffer from moisture stress at fruiting stage. May coincides with the fruiting stage, by which point the physiological moisture requirement of crop plants is normally at its peak. Hence the rains in the first and the second months of the rainy seasons (April and May in the case of the gu and October and November in the deyr) are the most decisive for crop production as they support the most crucial crop stages, namely vegetative plant growth (in the first month) and fruiting stage (in the second month). This reflects the need for regular and stable rains with a sufficient duration for crop production in this critical period of the season, without which normality of the food security situation remains unlikely. Water sources Water is accessed through wells, seasonal rivers and birkads in the ciid areas of the Zone. In Kebri dahar district, Dobowein and some parts of Sheygosh, the Fafan seasonal river is the most important source of water for the pastoral and agropastoral population in and around the Fafan valley. This River provides water in two ways. In the wet season, livestock uses the water retained in the water catchments in the River basin, though in some areas water is obtained through shallow wells (laaso) that are dug in the river bed. In the dry season, however, semi deep wells that exist in and around the river are the main sources of water for the populations in Dobowein, Kebri dahahar and parts of Sheygosh. During the wet season, a relatively less important source of water is the natural ponds that usually get exhausted within days or weeks in the absence of recharging rains. Boreholes, even though less in number, play a major role in accessing water for major towns but for some few villages as well. These include Shilabo, Kebridahar, Sheygosh, and Wijiwaji towns and Galadid, Dawacale, Calen, Jidhacle and Lasole villages. These boreholes are frequently subject to technical failures and because of the unavailability of timely maintenance services, any major breakdown sparks difficult water shortages. This is more serious in Shilabo and Sheygosh, based on the population LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 11

13 that could be affected, and the availability of alternative water sources in the event of a borehole breakdown. Depending on their duration within the year, the population they serve and the circumstances affecting them, water sources are classified under three categories, namely: permanent sources, seasonal sources and birkads. Within the context of Korahe Zone, these mainly comprise hand dug wells and boreholes. Permanent water sources serve large populations and last throughout the year unless there are unusual disruptions technical or mechanical breakdown in the case of a borehole, for instance. Seasonal water sources serve the communities for parts of the year, mainly the wet season, and in some places the early part of the dry season. This is constituted by ponds, water catchments in the basins of seasonal rivers, seasonal streams and small shallow wells (laaso). Seasonal water sources normally dry up for some parts of the year under circumstances of both normal and poor rainfall. Birkads have been treated as a separate category here because annual water provision depends on the status of rainfall and the population using them in different parts of the year (other parameters are the number of birkads in given location and the volume of water each can hold). So, if the rainfall condition is normal, birkads in the ciid areas are recharged well and sustain the local population up to the next rainy season in the absence of external pressures like overpopulation. If, however, the rainfall pattern falls below normal, the birkad dependent areas are some of the worst affected areas of the zone by water shortage. This is why we, in this baseline, included them in areas that are chronically water insecure. Table 7 in Appendix 9.4 presents the permanent water sources in all the districts of Korahe zone and their direction and distance from the main central town of each district. Wijiwaji and Sheygosh areas largely depend on their individual boreholes that sustain not only the local urban population but also the rural one which shifts more towards these boreholes in the dry season after the seasonal boreholes dry up. In situations where the borehole breaks down, the Wijiwaji communities shift to relying on Darmi and Biyokhadhaadhe (seasonal wells in the Fafan river basin) travelling a distance of km for a round trip. These seasonal wells, however, are not very productive and hence expose the population to serious water problems in the dry season in the event of a local borehole breakdown (one well takes 1 hour to supply 20 litres of water in the wet season but this time doubles in the dry season, particularly from mid to late jilal and hagaa). In Gomar, the population normally depends on the Karaab wells in the river basin and is about 24 km for a round trip. These wells fully suffice the local population in the wet season but will normally sustain only the human population in the dry season. This shifts the livestock population to Sheygosh borehole in these times. A new borehole is under construction in Gomar. The water catchments and shallow wells in the Fafan river basin can sustain the local population for the first two months of the wet season but only in normal years where bi annual rainfall cycles are bring normal precipitations. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 12

14 Water salinity as a major social problem Water salinity is increasingly becoming a noticeable problem in many social circles, particularly among the communities in the dibir areas of the zone. Many water sources mostly in the dibir areas of Shilabo, Kebri dahar and Dobowein, which are strategic water sources for the pastoral and agropastoral livestock herds, contain high concentrations of salines that rise to hazardous levels as the ground water table declines during the dry season. The saline composition of such water wells have worsened under the last few years which have not seen particularly good rains and which have consequently resulted in a serious decline of the water table and decrease in water productivity of the wells. As per the reports of the experts in the health sector, the high water salinity is the potential cause of high blood pressure and is the cause of increasing miscarriages among pregnant women. Chronically water insecure areas of the Zone Water scarcity in many villages and towns of Korahe is a chronic cause of concern during the water crisis in the dry season, even in normal years. Sheygosh district is chronically one of the most water insecure areas of the zone in the event of borehole breakdown. This means that the population in the district will slide into an emergency water situation when a borehole breaks down. This is more serious in the dry season where the few alternative sources mostly dry up or at least deteriorate to very poor levels. This means that when a borehole breaks down, spare parts have to be available and repairing facilities have to be quick. In any situations where this does not happen, a quick response action is needed to fill the vacuum by launching a water tankering intervention. In Kebri dahar district, the whole of the northern and north eastern parts, which are normally the birkad dependent parts of the Zone, become exposed to water shortages in years where the seasonal rains perform poorly in these areas and fail to recharge the birkads fully. Another situation where these areas can slip into water shortage is when they receive exceptionally better rainfall than other parts and the available water gets quickly depleted thanks to livestock concentration and overpopulation due to movements from other areas. These areas are areas mostly called the Banaan range lands of Korahe. In the doox areas of the district, maracaato, Karinbilcile and Fooljeex are commonly known as areas with water problems. In Dobowein district, the south eastern, the southern and south western areas are commonly the most chronically water insecure areas of the district. These areas mostly do have shallow wells that support the population during normal years. In normal circumstances, these shallow wells are sufficient to sustain the whole population in the rainy season and only the human population in the dry season. In times of poor rainfall, however, the water salinity of these wells reaches high levels, as the water level declines and therefore turns risky for human consumption. Districts most affected by water shortages are Shilabo, Kebri dahar and Dobowein. All the ciid areas of the Shilabo and northern and north eastern Kebri dahar are very vulnerable to water shortages, but only in circumstances when the seasonal rainfall patterns fall below normal. This normally results in insufficient recharging of the birkads LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 13

15 which are the only available source of water for the communities in the ciid areas. In normal years, the situation remains different with birkads recharged up to their brim by the rains in the wet season. Table 8 in Appendix 9.4 presents the chronically water insecure areas of the Zone, including the birkad dependent areas which are included in this category only under circumstances of below normal rainfall. Prominent grass species and livestock feed during normal years There are three types of grass species (dareemo, biile and dhikil the latter is only found in flood prone river beds) that are the most common feed for livestock during normal years. Though these grass species may not grow equally under the same ecological conditions, and vary not only in palatability but also in spatial and temporal availability, they collectively represent, from the view point of livestock herders, the best feed package without which circumstances will turn into a looming crisis that in turn eventually causes population instability due to stress livestock feed shortage. In the early stages of the wet season, a lot of feed plant species become available for livestock consumption maxaansugi grass species for instance but later disappear or die gradually after the dry and hot winds start early in the dry season. The dareemo, dhikil and biile grass species are normally precious grazing resources that sustain livestock across the dry season and hence whose availability will affect livestock most in every circumstance regarding pasture condition. Duration of growth is normally long and the moisture required is high, unlike the browse vegetation, and some of the instantly germinating grass species like maxaansugi which appear and bloom immediately after the rains start, but also diminish to nothing soon after the rains end. So in drought or bad years livestock mortality is caused through pasture shortages (this is one of the many causes of livestock mortality) because of insufficient moisture to grow these plant species. Therefore, one of the prominent features that distinguish bad years from normal years when it comes to pasture condition is the physical availability and distribution of such grass species in sufficient amounts. The second most important plant feed for livestock, particularly for camel and shoats ( browsers ) is the browse, the general name for all plant leaves palatable to livestock as a normal feed. Browse grows more quickly than sustainable grazing as it requires less water and time to replenish, but also dies sooner as the dry season sets in. Grazing vegetation like the grass species mentioned earlier is resistant to the heat and seasonal winds. During normal years, browse sustains the browsers throughout the wet season and in some cases the earliest months of the dry season but in the middle and latter parts of the dry season browse no longer plays such prominent role, though it may still be available in a dry form after trees shed their leafs (Xaab). Thus, grazing is the most important livestock feed thereafter not only for cattle and sheep called the nugul species but also for camel and goats. Then, with the circumstantial combination of grazing and browse, the whole season is secured with sufficient pasture at hand for all livestock species. Pastoral rangelands in Korahe Zone Ilo: Ilo remains pasture land with no wells. It is characterised by rocky land, plains, and areas with tall trees. It is mostly used by the horwayn movement of the pastoral households, particularly camels. This is an area with pasture reserves which becomes LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 14

16 populated largely by camels in difficult times when pastures are depleted or not sufficiently generated in the nearby rangelands. Qaali: This is a pasture land characterised by red soils, small hills and plains. It contains grassy areas where camels can give birth in the wet season. It is normally used by the horwayn group of camel raising communities. Although Qaali is a normal camel grazing area for some of the populations in Sheygosh and northern Kebri dahar, it is more widely used in difficult times. Dagah madoe: It is mountainous and hilly but with small plains. Grasses and other pastures are found. There is no water except natural ponds. Seasonal settlements of the horwayn populations are established once in a while, particularly in the wet season when access to water through natural ponds is possible. Dulqabow: The land is characterised by hilly areas with tall trees, grasses and other pastures. It has a mix of black soils and rocks and is devoid of any water at all. It is a dry grazing area often used in times of difficulty by the pastoral horwayn movement. It is a pasture reserve area in which camel congestion is more likely when pastures are really scarce in normal rangelands. There are no permanent settlements. Banaan: The land is flat with red sand soils and a thick vegetative cover of a variety of tree and grass species. It forms part of the ciid areas that fall in the territory of Kebridahar district. There are no wells at all but birkads (cemented water reservoirs) are the basic water source. Villages are situated near the birkads (e.g. Gabogabo, Jiic, laandheer, Toonceelay, Garwaan, Harero qawar). Village settlements and the horwayn group of pastoral households are the common users of this rangeland. Holhol/Babaleys: Black and red soils are predominant in the areas within this pastoral rangeland. There are small trees, grassy hills, some plains and natural ponds. Pastoral households stay back with the irman (milking animals) and the xaas (the old and very weak) livestock. Nogobyaray: Chalk stone soil (dibir), seasonal water streams and various types of natural incense (Foox, Malmal, xabag) are found here. Grasses are mostly comprised of the dareemo grass species. This area is populated by the horwayn group of the pastoral households. There are no permanent villages at all. Hud: A land of mixed, fine soil, locally known as suubaan, mostly with short trees and grass plains. The presence of wells, settlements and pastoral areas is common. It hosts the movement of the horwayn group, and is where the livestock gives birth. Horwayn and some villagers are often present. Faaf/Dobowein: This land is dominated by black soils, appropriate for farm land, and hence is the home for the flood recession farming in Kebri dahar and Dobowein districts. So it is mostly populated by the agropastoralists. There are some village settlements. The land is dominated by vast grass plains and short shrubs, more suitable for the production of nugul livestock species cattle and sheep. Livestock also gives birth here. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 15

17 During the wet season, this place is a haven for the pastoral herds scared by the biting flies in the forest areas (Qaniin dhuug & Baalcad). Goglo: This area contains red soils with thick vegetation cover and is known for the availability of grazing and various other pastures. Seasonal settlements of the pastoral groups are established around this pastoral rangeland in some parts of the year. Some permanent villages are nearby. There are permanent wells here. This rangeland is used by both by Irman and horwayn livestock. In difficult times, the area becomes highly populated due to its pasture reserves. Xero xun: Xero xun is particularly known for its water scarcity in the dry season. In the wet season, some seasonal settlements are established by pastoral households. During this time, both the irman and the horwayn groups of all species are present in considerable numbers. In the dry season, however, the horwayn groups, particularly of the camel herds, may stay and graze in this area. This is so because access to water will normally require long distance movement which is particularly dangerous for shoats and the cattle species. It is a livestock birth giving area during the wet season. There are no permanent villages and no water availability. Mixed soil, mostly red, is dominant and it is considered part of the ciid areas. Toomo/Doolo: Doolo is characterized by its red soil, few deep wells and the high importance of birkads as a source of water. Tall acacia trees, grasses and other dense vegetation is commonly found in most parts. There are settled populations/villages. There is no farming at all. Wild fruits are found (hohob) after good rains. Livestock gives birth here. Irman and horwayn villagers are usually present. This area is at the edge of Korahe, most of which is in Warder Zone and Somalia. It shares similar characteristics with those of the ciid areas. Celgab: The land is dominated by mixed and red soils, small hills, short trees and grasses. There are no birkads, but there are wells and seasonal streams. Settled population and villagers are noticeable. Rain fed farming is practiced but to some extent only. Irman and horwayn livestock is found. This area borders with Somalia in the east. Soil/Vegetation The vegetation cover which depends on bi annual rainfall cycles, the gu and the deyr, for regeneration and growth, is a mixture of grass species (dareemo, biile, maxaansugi, dhikil), enormous thorny bushes (bilcil, cadaad, waadhi etc) and tall acacia trees (qudhac, galool etc) which are normally found in different parts of the Zone, depending on the inherent characteristics and suitability of the soils in different areas to grow each individual or group of plant species. The vegetation cover remains thick in the ciid parts of the Zone, though there are open grazing rangelands that are sparsely distributed within this area. The various plant species provide livestock feed, construction material and cooking energy to the resident population of the Zone. In addition, the vegetation is generally a source of natural beauty for the environment, and provides a physical coverage for the protection of soil from winds and floods. From a scientific point of view, the vegetative cover enriches the soil, after decomposition, with organic matter that facilitates later plant regeneration and growth. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 16

18 Soils are predominantly dark clay soils with potentially high agricultural productivity in the very low plains in and around the Fafan valley. In the ciid areas of the Zone, however, red sandy soils with high water permeability are commonly found. In the Fafan valley where dark clay soils are dominant, high water retention capacity is a characteristic feature of the soil, resulting in a relatively slow release of moisture to plant roots and a consequent hoarding of water to produce run offs and floods. This is the underlying cause of a growing problem that is increasingly taking social and economic dimensions. Poor moisture availability for crops and for grazing plant roots has been an increasingly growing problem in the Zone since the last 6 years. Many people link the problem to the traditional rainfall uncertainty and a resultant moisture scarcity. But as reflected in the views of most insiders in the crop growing sector of Korahe, it is no more that way only. The problem is coming from another direction also soil erosion. The process of low water percolation and the resultant water retention is what produces the seasonal over flooding. This gives rise to many seasonal streams that currently hijack the rainfall water through the formation of countless gullies everywhere in the Fafan agricultural plains. Today, large amounts of the very water that once used to be a costless source of irrigation for many crop growing communities in Korahe are drained out into the Fafan River, leaving many crop fields and grazing plains at the mercy of moisture stress. However, the impact of this soil characteristic on the environment and on crop production is not the only one that affects the local agropastoral communities in the Zone. Because of the water retention capacity of such clay soils, seasonal water catchments in the basin of local rivers, particularly the main Fafan River, normally store the run off water for a reasonable time for livestock and population use in the wet season. The high water percolation property of the soil in the ciid areas is the main reason behind the absence of significant gully erosion developments in the concerned areas. Despite, however, the apparent advantages of such soil characteristics in terms of reducing soil degradation through lowering the level of run off water; it poses a problem for the pastoral life when it comes to temporary water availability. It provides little opportunity for retaining flood water in natural water catchments for pastoral consumption. The ciid areas of the Zone are normally formed by a flat and even land that distributes flood water across its vast forest covered plateaus and grazing plains. Moisture quickly travels deeper due to the high water percolation capacity of the sand soil and helps in the quick replenishment of pasture through reaching the plant roots without repressive soil restriction (the moisture level at plant roots is a consequence of the rainfall condition, the water percolation property of the soil and the atmospheric temperature). This explains the existence of thick vegetation cover in the ciid areas of the Zone, commonly known as hawd (densely forested pastoral land). Among the remaining soils, the most common remains the type found in the dibir areas, a land feature manifested by a soil composed of white and rocky parent material (chalk stone soil). This type of soil favours the growth of tall acacia trees and the dareemo grass species, making its areas more suitable for camel and shoat production. Areas that LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 17

19 connect the ciid to the doox and the western hilly areas of Kebri dahar district (Nogobyaray) are mostly formed by the dibir rangelands. These dibir flanks are a haven of lavish grazing for the pastoral and agropastoral communities mainly in the dry season but also in parts of the wet season. The diversity of these ecological features regarding soil types and vegetation species allows the co existence of a variety of livelihoods in the Zone (pastoral and agropastoral) and the prominence of all livestock species (camel, cattle and shoats) in great numbers. The ciid areas are mostly suitable for rearing camel and shoats and are purely pastoral areas while the valley areas like the Fafan and its environs are a breeding haven for cattle and sheep, locally known as the nugul species as they are most vulnerable to feed and water shortages and hence to drought generally. 3.3 History Recurrent rainfall failures and shortening drought cycle During the last 6 years, recurrent drought years have hit the Zone, triggering poor livestock and crop production through causing pasture and water shortages in the agropastoral circles. This has given rise to increased frequency of severe (e.g ) and mild (e.g. 2002, 2003 and 2004) shocks, repeatedly exposing the population in the Zone to food and feed shortages. Therefore, over the years, the situation has been characterized by stressful population instability and over stretched asset sales, eventually resulting in asset depletion, weakened coping capacity and hence increased household vulnerability. This has generally reduced the household asset base in all livelihood areas in the zone across all socio economic groups. It has also forced many households to abandon their previous way of life after dropping out of their livelihood system. The worst affected communities remained the nugul (cattle and sheep) raising parts mainly along the Fafan valley, the home for the agropastoralists. The worst affected households are the poor groups which, due to their low asset base, are the most vulnerable and exposed to such shocks. Therefore, these poor groups have been trapped into a repetitive cycle of suffering that has lasted for several years, leaving them to increasingly grow dependent on the little food aid provisions made available through regional needs assessments. The food aid package, although it has helped such vulnerable groups to make ends meet, has not done much to help save assets at household level due to the obvious lack of targeting as it is done through blanket distribution. The cumulative impact has been to remove many agropastoral households from farming through draining out the meagre resources for farming and produced pastoral drop outs as IDPs. These pastoral and agropastoral drop outs, who are mainly identified by the previous baseline by ACF (2000) as very poor groups, have ended up in the few urban centres of the Zone, living a very tough and difficult life with no basis there today. In a context where mechanisms for addressing such problems through seeking rehabilitation and social integration are absent, this adds a new burden to the already growing ills of urban life and increases competition for meagre resources among the impoverished populations. LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 18

20 Livestock ban Livestock production is generally the basis of all pastoral livelihoods. Pastoralists are characteristically distinguished by their high dependence on livestock for food, income and social matters. In the Somali Region, a context which is mostly pastoral, livestock production and marketing is the most basic way of accessing food and income and hence the dominant means of survival for the larger proportion of the regional population. Therefore, both pastoralists and agropastoralists derive their subsistence income entirely or partly from livestock sales. In such a context, the effect of livestock market shocks remains high due to this high market dependence. This is, at least, something highlighted by the experience gained from the aftermath of the livestock ban which came into effect in September The livestock ban, which was imposed on countries in East Africa due to fears of Rift Valley disease, resulted in the freezing of external markets in the Gulf of Arabia Region, causing a chaotic situation of household income erosion by reducing livestock demand and thence prices across the region. Given that livestock sales form the largest share of income in the pastoral/agropastoral context during both normal and bad years, this has been a major cause of pastoral and agropastoral crisis. The livestock ban has affected the agropastoral and pastoral communities in the Region in several respects. First, it has severely undermined the most important coping mechanism for survival during bad years without providing alternative options for survival or other market outlets. In this way, the livestock ban tightened access to income and hence food at household level, thereby increasing the income deficit and suffering by reducing essential food and nonfood items. Secondly, it accelerated the speed of asset depletion given more livestock needed to be sold to achieve the same household income, as the prices of livestock species declined under the ban. Thirdly, the external livestock market with neighbouring countries used to provide the resources for the import of food and non food items at cheaper prices. This includes sugar, soap, tea leaves, clothes and imported food grains. The closure of the gulf market caught the population in the Region between the need for sustaining normal livelihood and the grim reality of a deteriorating income position. As resources for essential imports decreased sharply in the Region and the volume of imported quantities of food and non food items dropped, prices of all items increased, thereby further decreasing household purchasing power in terms of the real value of income. This created a situation where everybody, if they can afford it, has to pay more money for the same quantity of goods. And finally, the livestock ban reduced gains from the livestock trade and hence wrecked livestock market growth, sharply slowing livestock related investments and creating a general malaise of the whole regional economy. It also reduced government revenue both from taxing the imported goods during transit and from livestock sales in domestic markets. Fake currency influence Repeated injections of fake currency from neighbouring Somalia have significantly affected the economy in the zone since the late 90s. The fact that the Zone shares a border LZ 11 Korahe Agropastoral 19

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