Story by Mohamed A. Omar of Hijra
Under searing heat and dust, tractors roll on dry farmland in order to prepare the ground for the next growing season. Oxfam in partnership with local partner HIJRA, supported local farmers to prepare their land by subsidizing the cost of hiring tractors to till the fields. The project supported farmers who worked land surrounding the Shebelle River in ten villages in Afgooye District in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.
“This is the right kind of support and it was available at the right time and place” says Mohamed Abdulle, the HIJRA Livelihoods Field Officer. “The sheer joy on the faces of the community members whose farms were ploughed and cleared, is a small indicator of how badly this kind of support was needed.”
“For the last five years I could not afford to plough my land and had a poor harvest as a result,” says Ahmed, a farmer whose land was tilled. “The fact that I can now have land ready for planting on time is amazing” he reiterates. “I am confident that this year’s harvest will be better.”
“My tractor was idle for a long time. Farmers needed their land prepared but could not afford to hire a tractor for the hours required to till the land. I was struggling to provide for my family of five,” tractor diver Hassan says. “Out of nowhere, I was called by the owner of the tractor who said that we would be working with Oxfam and HIJRA to work on farmland in Afgooye. I did not believe it until the day I started working the land.
“Oxfam is not only supporting farmers but also the many tractor drivers who have been looking for work for a very long time,” Hassan says. “This work is helping to put something on my family’s table.”