Author : Abdirashid Ahmed Guleid
THE POSSIBILITIES FOR A GREEN REVOLUTION IN THE ETHIOPIAN SOMALI REGIONAL STATE (ESRS)
Jigjiga(CakaaraNews) sabti Dec 28,2013. Waxaa Maqaalkan(Article) noo soo Gudbiyay Muwaadinka Magaciisu yahay C/rashiid Axmed Guuleed(Awraali) isagoona ku Cabiraya Fikirkiisa Fursadaha Balaadhan ee Guud ahaan Dalka ka jira Gaar ahaana Deegaanka Soomaalida Itoobiya ee lagu maalgashan karo Khayraadka Dihin iyo Dhulka alle ku manaysay DDSI,sidoo kale waxa uu ka hadlayaa Siyaasada Furfuran ee ka jirta Dalka laguna Dhiirigalinayo Private Sectorska iyo Democratic leadershipka ka jira Deegaanka ee awoodaha loogu dhaadhiciyay ilaa Heer Tuulo.F.G:-Qoraalkani waxaa uu u Dhawrsoonyahay Dhamaanba waxa uu ka hadayo Qoraha Magaciisu Sare ku Xusan yahay kaliya in aanu u soo daabacno ayaa ay CakaaraNews Masuuliyadeeda leedahay.
Introduction:- Since EPRDF came to power in Ethiopia in 1991, socio-economic development has taken root in the country. Many successes have been recorded in the development of the country’s infrastructure. The necessary policy framework has been designed in such a way that it has geared the country towards meaningful economic development. The private sector has also thrived based on the policy guidance as provided by the government. The regions have been given self rule and decision making has been decentralized as per the constitution of the country. Power has been decentralized up to the district level. This has led to the need identification at the grassroots level. As a result, the economic development in the country, in general, is in the right track.
The Ethiopian Somali Regional State (ESRS) has contributed its share to the country’s general socio-economic development. Despite having greatly suffered under the previous regimes in Ethiopia, the ESRS is catching up with the rest of Ethiopia in several aspects. For example, the infrastructure development in the ESRS is in good progress. The mobile network coverage is about 85% percent. The road network is being aggressively developed at the moment. Electricity extension is in good pace as well. The social services provision is also in admirable stage.
Elementary education coverage is more than 80% while many districts have established their own secondary schools. The ESRS has currently one main university and several technical and vocational training centers. Thousands have so far graduated from these institutions. Unfortunately, unemployment is still very high in the ESRS. Illegal migration is increasing and needs to be urgently addressed.
The natural resources in the ESRS have not been efficiently utilized. Urgent efforts should be taken in order to address the situation and to better the situation of the youth. Agricultural Potential of the ESRS As an independent economist, I estimate that the ESRS can feed not only its population but at least 10 times more people. That is if only rudimentary technology is applied on the region’s unutilized arable lands. We have millions of arable hectares (approximately 6 million hectares) that can be easily developed. We have Shabele, Weyb, and Genale rivers at our disposal.
Add to that the newly found under-ground river in Siti zone. Without any exaggeration, we can say that Shabele river alone can produce more than the food items that we need for our own consumption as well as being as the source for export cash crops like the sesame crop. The other rivers can then serve as the surplus food production areas. That does not imply that we need to use up all the waters in those rivers.
The rivers will still flow after we utilize our fair share. Do not forget the seasonal rivers like Jerer and Fafen and the multitude of small dry rivers that do not possess their own names. Small and medium size dams can be constructed to harvest some of the waters of these dry rivers. When we fully appreciate our potential and act on its harnessing and utilization, we will not need to receive food aid from any outside party.
In order to utilize this potential, the businesspersons in the ESRS need to come up with some more entrepreneurial skills. If challenges are faced on the way, then there are solutions to every challenge. Undertaking large scale commercial farming is not easy at all. But it is something that we must do if we have to economically take off and get out of the poverty cycle. I must mention here about our livestock production potential. Ethiopia stands as number one in Africa in the livestock production sub-sector.
In turn, the ESRS stands as the number one livestock producing region in Ethiopia at least as far as sheep and goats production is concerned. We need to come up with ways to upgrade the quality and quantity of our livestock production system.
We will come back to this topic sometime in the future. Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model What is the PPP model for economic development? This is a new paradigm that is advocated by the United Nations for the economic development of the least developed countries. It theorized that the best way to enhance the production of goods and services is to come up with enterprises that are owned jointly by the state and by the private businesspersons.
The idea is to remove the funding constraint for big projects. For example, when we plan to start a project that aims to develop 10,000 hectares of land along one of our rivers, we will need hundreds of millions of Birr to successfully run such a project. It is obvious that it is beyond the means of most entrepreneurs in the ESRS to even contemplate about the starting of such a project. On the other hand, we need to start these kind of projects if we have to transform our region from being food aid dependent to being food exporter. It is possible. It must be done.
Let us introduce the PPP model and we can change our situation. Our government can mobilize the funds and our businesspersons, in collaboration with our pool of professionals, can take care of the management aspect. The Ethiopian Somali Limat Mahber, on behalf of the ESRS, can take the lead in mobilizing the required funds, and can then institute joint venture with the existing businesspersons in the region.
If we adopt this model, then we may not need outside investors in the transformation of our agricultural sector. Harvesting the Fruits of the Green Revolution At the moment, the graduates from our educational institutions dream about migrating to Europe and America.
Many of them actually do so and carry out the painful journey to Europe through the great desert. What compels them to engage in this journey is the belief that there is a better livelihood there in Europe. They dream about gaining more income to help themselves and their families. When we come together and explore and develop our goldmines (i.e. our fertile lands), we can prove to our youngsters that it is possible to enjoy a better life here at home.
Let us come up with a paradigm shift. The great runner Mr. Haile Gebreselase inspired the youth in highland Ethiopia and came up with the Motto “Yichalal” in Amharic meaning “it is possible”. We know how many Ethiopian runners have succeeded in the international arena after being inspired by Haile Gebreselase’s motto.
We need to frame our own motto that guides us towards the realization of our agricultural potential so that we actually create a situation that is much better than the one that our youth face there in Europe. We need all our youth (educated and uneducated) to work on our fields so that we can realize green revolution in the ESRS.
The fruits are there waiting for us. The needed inputs are the budget (to be raised mostly by the Somali Limat Mahber), the mission (paradigm shift which says it is doable), managers (from the business community in the ESRS), technical personnel (from our educational institutions), and the labour (from our communities) plus, of course, our fertile lands. Then it is a DONE DEAL.