Livelihood Skills Development For TVET Intervention Commerce Essay

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Food and Agriculture sector is the main stay of Somalia's economy. 55% of Somalia's population is dependent on livestock breeding, 10% on agriculture and approximately 5 to 10% in agricultural associated sectors i.e. frankincense (aromatic gum)) extraction, collection of honey, hides and skins processing etc. Similarly a reasonable number of people are dependent on fishing. Unfortunately this sector is neglected due to various reasons. The civil war ravaged the population involved in these fields in a major manner, entire communities were displaced, livestock herds and flocks were wiped out and crops destroyed. Different aspects of this sector are being dealt with as under:

Livestock. The largest segment of Somalia's population depends on livestock which is the most vibrant sector of its' economy. However this sector is a much underdeveloped source of livelihood. Other than the raw export of livestock there has been very little value added addition in this field. Any development in the field of tanneries, leather goods manufacturers, their export or establishment of modern slaughter houses/abattoir for local or export oriented meat will go a long towards income generation. There is also a requirement of increasing the management expertise in this field to handle products at various levels. The estimated livestock population of Somalia is as under:

Somaliland: Estimated Population of Livestock (Thousands)

Year Goat Sheep Camel Cattle Total

2001 6,676 7,391 1,508 356 15,932

2002 6,837 7,517 1,525 360 16,238

2003 7,001 7,644 1,542 364 16,551

Source: Ministry of National Planning and Co-ordination Somaliland Department of Statistics and Research

Puntland: Estimated Population of Livestock (Million)

Year Goat Sheep Camel Cattle

2000 20.0 9.3 2.9 Not available

2001 20.2 9.5 3.1 Not available

2002 20.7 9.9 3.6 Not available

Source; Ministry of Planning and Statistics, Puntland, Puntland Facts and Figures 2003

Figures for Central and South Somalia are not available.

2.1. Opportunities exist in livestock trade in marketing for export and domestic markets. There is a need for value addition through small and medium scale enterprises involved in processing. Interventions aimed at developing and upgrading the livestock markets would contribute to increased employment opportunities and household incomes. In order to do so following are recommended:

2.2. Recommendations:

Inadequate modern slaughterhouse capabilities, meat freezing equipment or any value added addition is adversely affecting the potential.

Expanding existing veterinary centres and veterinarian resources.

Creation of veterinary assistant's body or system to look after the medical health of livestock.

It suffers from inadequate provisions of health and hygiene related medicines. Due to this shortage there is inadequate support to livestock herders in the field

Water management for herds needs improvement. If possible the State governments and local communities should join hands to construct water ponds for animals. .

2.3. TVET Intervention: The following suggestions may be considered by all stakeholders:

Human resource/capacity building by holding management courses for entrepreneurs and livestock breeders.

Training and upgrading of existing veterinarian resources besides adding new ones. There are very few veterinarians presently trained in this field

Better animal husbandry practices taught at the VTCs and encouraged to be followed.

Sheep and goats are the main stay of Somalia livestock wealth

3. Milk and Dairy Products. The potential in raising production in this field is much higher than at present due to the availability of large livestock wealth. Out of milk products, butter and ghee (cooking oil) is refined from milk besides yogurt. Almost all these products are locally consumed and no formal quantity is exported. The milk sellers constitute the tail end of the milk products selling system starting from breeding and tendering herds in country side. Intervention can be made at all stages of this system for enhancing production. Following problem areas are identified for intervention to be made for further improvement in this sector:

3.1 Problem Areas:

Inadequate modern equipment for processing butter, cheese or yogurt or any other value added addition is adversely affecting the export potential.

Storage or deep freezing facilities are lacking.

Prolonged drought has resulted in poor livestock conditions in near past affecting milk yields.

TVET should aim at enhancing the quality of livestock for milk products like butter, cheese, yoghurt and ghee which can provide many job opportunities to the population.

Agricultural fields in Somaliland with potential for substantial increase in production.

4. Agriculture. This is one field with maximum growth potential and marked ability to increase Somalia's agricultural wealth. Somalia is classified as a semi-arid country, similar to Pakistan and parts of India which both have a large agricultural base. Saudi Arabia is equally if not more arid and has achieved food autarky in wheat besides poultry, livestock and dairy products. It is presently exporting some of these products to neighboring countries. CSS with a large potential for improvement is in midst of continued civil strife. In the rest of Somalia, large areas particularly in the Somaliland receive more than 14 inches (35 mm) of rainfall per annum; semi arid agricultural practices can be done in an organized manner as this is enough to grow at least one good crop. It will need concerted effort by all stakeholders to achieve food autarky. However this is also one sector where major government or donor funding is required for capital works besides liberal micro credits to the farmers. Modern agricultural practices if incorporated can bring in a green revolution.

4.1. Recommendations for Improvement in Livestock and Agriculture Sector.

There is a need to open up more VTCs in this sector as the existing facilities are inadequate.

Small or check dams may be constructed by TVET stakeholders especially FAO wherever possible to store runoff rainwater particularly during flash floods.

Construction of embankments for stopping and retaining water on slopes.

Water conservation practices i.e. rain harvesting, use of drip irrigation, ponds for storage and seepage of water can give a substantial jumpstart to the agriculture sector.

The formation of agricultural cooperatives. An effort can be made in this sector for the ultimate aim of going in for cooperative farming.

State governments may consider giving unclaimed or unutilized farm land to multinational corporate firms for modern corporate farming.

Utilization of new techniques i.e., introduction of drought resistant crops etc may be undertaken.

4.2. TVET Intervention: Should take place in all of the above mentioned fields depending upon resources and priority.

Primitive methods do not allow full potential to be exploited in agricultural field

5. Fisheries Sector. Somalia has a long coastline 3300 kilometers long, out of which Puntland has 1300 km of coastline and Somaliland 850 km, the remaining being with Central and South Somalia. The main fishing centres are Bossaso, Kandala, Aluula, Hafun, Eyl, Garaad in Puntland and Berbera, Lyo-addo and Elayo in Somaliland. According to a UNO feasibility study for Somaliland these settlements have approx 2643 boats [1] of which approx 60% are operational. It supports the livelihood of approx 5872 fishermen. Out of this approximately 170 operational boats are in Puntland. The fishing is mainly done with 6-8 metre fiber glass boats with outboard engines costing US$ 4000 to 5000 each. No fishing trawlers or fish processing launches/ships are available. This allows other countries particularly Yemen to fish in Somalia's oceanic economic zone. The catch includes sharks which is the mainstay of this industry, deeps sea lobsters. mullets, tuna and mackerel along the coast. The Tsunami of 2004 destroyed a large number of boats in Hafun and cause disruption in the fishing catch.

Fish lying in freezers/chillers for export at Bossaso

5.1. Approximate Catch and Potential [2] 

Puntland: Catches approximately 19,000 tons with a potential capacity of 180,000 tons per annum. The fishing industry is the second highest income earning sector after livestock. [3] 

Somaliland: The fishing catch ranges from 1000 tons to 1500 tons. It has an approximate potential of 40,000 [4] tons yearly with out endangering the stock. Only an insignificant portion is being caught now.

CSS figures are not available.

5.2. The normal fishing cycle starts with fisherman selling their catch to traders who have the capacity to hold up to 1000 ton in large containers or freezers. They in turn sell it off to exporters mainly to KSA and UAE. A fisherman can earn up to US$ 10 per kilo for fish and US$ 80/20kilo for lobsters and US 90-100/kilo for dried shark fins,

5.3. Somaliland has one fish cannery at Laskoreh in Sanaag area which was originally established by the Soviet Union and was again rehabilitated in 2002 by a group of local businessmen. A modern lobster processing plant is separately operational at Eyl in Puntland .most cold storage facilities date back to pre civil war days.

5.4. The maximum catch is exported from Bossaso; even Somaliland fishermen use this facility instead of Berbera. However the poor condition of the road network deters the fishermen from other places from shifting their catch to main fishing ports like Bossaso. The main exports are frozen lobster, filleted fish, smoked and sun-dried shark and tuna which are also consumed in Mogadishu, CSS, and Kenya's coastal areas.

5.5. Obstacles:

Inadequate and old fishing equipment along with shortage of spare parts is a major problem

The need to improve the handling and processing of catch is imperative. Efforts are needed to create a fulltime industry for the smoking, salting, drying of shark meat, shark fins and other fish.

Fishing by illegal trawlers due to the inability of the State Governments to police the economic zone.

Fish hygiene and sanitation needs to be given more importance, both for export and local consumption.

The marketing and exporting system is not fully developed. Inadequate cold storage and exports facilities hamper exports.

No collective fishermen's organization exists to look after their problems or to lobby for their rights.

5.6. Recommendations:

Establishment of a fishing related institution or VTC to train and guide fishermen.

VTCs to train fishermen apprentices in repair of fiber glass boats, engines, cold storage equipment and other ancillary machinery.

Enforcement by authorities is required; a proper coastguard or enforcement mechanism needs to be created. This is also a field in which former sea pirates can be rehabilitated.

A proper marketing mechanism for exports is required to be developed.

The fish processing industry should be gradually developed towards having value added additions.

The fishing industry needs support from State Government's as well as the international community so that it can act as a feeder for at least 5-6 times more population base.

Form cooperatives or fishermen associations to collectively solve mutual problems.

Poultry. This is another field with a large growth potential for providing more employment opportunities. Presently it is much neglected and most of the poultry meat and eggs etc. are imported. It is not as capital incentive as agriculture, initial cost of poultry could be borne by the donors/NGOs etc in the form of micro credits. Subsequently the loans can be returned in a cycle of few months, this small cycle is enough to generate sufficient income.

6.1. Recommendations. Vocational Training can be given to house holds for establishment of domestic or small poultry farms with potential to become bigger as the expertise increases.


Honey has been extracted from beehives in the wild for centuries in Somalia. Lately due to donor funded programs there has been a gradual increase in this field. Both the red colour variety and white honey is produced, the latter mostly from the wild. Both the price and production of honey have increased and it is being sold mostly in the internal market. The prices range from the US $ 8-12 per kilo at the highest to the US $ 4/kilo [5] in the rural areas near the production areas. Honey is fetching good prices presently here in Somalia therefore very little is exported.

Recommendations. An effort can be made to make it an exportable commodity by better grading and packaging. Honey has a thriving market in Europe and Middle East. It is a very thriving sector with good potential to grow in future. However more people need to be trained at the VTCs and micro credits given for material used for bee habitation (bee colonies housing) material.

Frankincense (Aromatic Gum). Somaliland and Puntland are among the world's largest producers of frankincense (aromatic gum) extracted from gum trees. The incense burned in most of the Arabian countries, China and Far East comes from Somalia. The gum trees basically grew wild in semi-arid inland plains. The gum yield is affected by the altitude and precipitation it receives. Both should be as high as possible. Most of the gum trees and the land surrounding them are owned by absentee landlords. The gum extraction is done by peasants who get a share from the total crop. Some trees are contracted or leased out to contractors who take this on lease for a specific number of years. Due to this particular ownership problem, the peasant or the contractor do not do any long term investment with the result that yields remain poor. This sector is highly labour intensive as everything at all stages has to be done by manpower. It is mostly done by women in a back breaking manner in very hot and dry weather, incense cleaning and its grading is also mostly done by women.

8.1. Problem Areas

Lack of resources / finances to carry out the entire process.

The prevalence of absentee landlords prohibits capital injections.

Lack of coordination among the workers. The cooperative system may be examined for introduction.

Lack of research or grading adversely affects the price. There has been some drop in prices in the Middle Eastern markets in the recent past due to under invoicing etc.

Government patronage or ownership is mostly lacking

8.2. Recommendations.

Establish an institution or VTC to cater for this.

Grading system to be introduced along with certification.

Resolve complex ownership system.

More investment for getting value added items.

Marketing mechanism to be improved

State Governments should be advised to be more involved giving patronage to this sector as it is big source of livelihood for people, revenue for governments' and for earning foreign exchange.

Hides and Skins. Small-scale traders buy them from butchers who are mostly women and then sell them to traders from towns /cities. The general quality of hides and skins is poor, hygiene and sanitation also needs improvement. The camel hides, which can be a big source of income generation, are mostly discarded although there is demand for them in Canada and some other countries. There are tanneries in Bossaso from where the hides and skins are exported to Pakistan, China, India and Italy. Through the process of TVET the export potential in this field can be enhanced substantially. Shoes, jackets, watch straps, seat covers, sofa / car cover and bags etc can be produced with minor efforts.

Hides and skins lying in the open in a tannery near Bossaso

10. Construction and Infrastructure Rehabilitation: The construction sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of Somalia's economy, people are moving to the cities mainly due to civil strife and high insecurity in rural areas. On the average a Somali city is doubling its population every 5 to 6 years. This is resulting in unplanned growth, slums, lack of communication links, and lack of water and sewerage facilities. No nation can progress with out giving due consideration to its infrastructure development. This sector seems not to be getting the priority required.

Infrastructure Rehabilitation. Since the entire sector has to take-off from scratch it can take a qualitative jumped by introducing modern practices this is a field where major investments are required but will generate income for substantial number of people. Major countries i.e. China, USA, European countries can play a major roll in mobilizing this sector. This will result in creating jobs and down stream requirements for most of the skills required. To revive this sector a three stage strategy is advocated to the government:

Stage 1. Planning, restoration and rehabilitation of existing communication infrastructure.

Stage 2. Development of new roads, streets and telecommunication infrastructure.

Stage 3. Development of ports, airports and auxiliary communication structure.

10.2. For the next couple of years Stage 1 is recommended except in the fast growing cities where constructions of roads and sewerage system etc are recommended on a priority basis.

10.3. Town Planning. Space reservation for park, schools, hospitals and commercial areas should be done at planning level rather than in a haphazard way as we are seeing now. This nascent sector needs attention of the international community involved in bringing peace and tranquility to Somalia. Good town planning harbours good living conditions and adherence to building laws and procedures, which improves the civic sense of people living in these cities. Over all it will act positively to improve the sense of security besides creating conditions conducive for good living in public.

10.4. Recycling. The recycling of used materials particularly plastics, glass, paper and many other items can substantially improve the environmental degradation taking place besides creating additional income for those engaged in this field. Similarly affluent water can be recycled after domestic, industrial or commercial use for agriculture or reforestation purposes. The recycling activities will create substantial number of jobs in this field particularly in and around the fast developing cities.

10.5. Recommendations. The following suggestions may be considered:

Awareness and Advocacy. Awareness level should be raised by all stakeholders for adherence to standard construction and building codes.

TVET Intervention. The VTCs should start new subjects i.e. town planning, draftsman, recycling and such skills in their curriculum being developed under UNESCO-PEER's auspices.

Material fit for recycling lying at a dumping site in Bossaso

11. Electronics and Telecommunication Industry. This sector has one of the largest growth potentials. The repair of cell phones, computers, TV and radios etc. is being carried out mostly with local skilled or semi-skilled labour. Similarly the telecommunication industry is one of the fastest growing fields in Somalia. It is almost entirely in the private sector, there are six different companies in the field of telecom. Telecom, Golis, Nationlink, Soltel, Soltilco and Silalink. Telecom is the leader in the field with more than 80% of the market and employing a large number of employees. These companies have formed a lobby group to get concessions and benefits from the State governments. International call charges are the cheapest in the area; less than US$ 1/2.0 per min [6] . V-sat satellite technology is being widely used for communicating in rural areas. All of these communication companies are linked with major international operators

11.1. Recommendations:

Training Institute for Executives. Only rudimentary training is being carried out in Somalia, all advanced technical, marketing and administrative skills are sharpened abroad. Most of the executive/manager level officials are foreign trained. The planning of technical education for engineering, business administration and other allied subjects for degree level courses may be done with the aim of starting these subjects in technical institutions in future.

Electronic goods/mobile phones repair shop at Baroma

TVET Potential. This field needs to be exploited fully. Most of the people working in this sector are self taught, few have had experience of being taught at a proper VTC. More vacancies may be created at the VTCs for this sector.

12. Mining Sector

. Somalia has rich deposit of coal [7] ; copper, zinc and lead etc. Puntland reportedly has deposit of emeralds and other gemstones on its borders with Ethiopia. There is no regulatory authority over this sector or proper training, equipment,, similarly some other costly minerals i.e. gold, gems, emeralds etc are found but no extraction at commercial level is taking place due to absence of facilities.

It has rich deposit of oil and gas, Chinese, American and South African companies have been exploring in this field. Peace is required before any major development can take place in this field. It is suggested that government should focus on this sector which can bring lot of wealth to the country in times to come.

TVET planners may start planning now for training of skilled manpower so that when the time comes skilled/semi-skilled manpower can be mobilized in a short period.

13. Health and Sanitation Sector. Somalia has lost some of its manpower working in this sector to foreign countries. Besides doctors there is an acute shortage of paramedical staff and mid-wives etc. There is also quality deficit as some of the hospitals are not satisfied with the quality of the paramedical staff. There is the requirement to upgrade both the quality and quantum of the output. A suggestion was mooted to get trainers and demonstrator nurses from neighboring countries of East Africa The presence of these nurses will not only improve their training in the interim period but will also enhance the paramedical facilities of these hospitals/clinics during the interim period.

Expatriate staff in a Puntland Hospital

Culture and Heritage Preservation. To ask for cultural and heritage preservation from a society fighting for its very survival is a far cry. However cognizance has to be taken as to what can be done even under most adverse circumstances. Cultural and heritage preservation has a direct bearing on the intellectual and mental health of a nation. It will ultimately result in creation of a more cohesive, intellectually stimulating and accommodating society. This is exactly what is required in Somalia now, the intellectuals within and those who are interested need to mobilize their synergies into this field.

Present State. There has been little effort to preserve the centuries old heritage of Somalia. The civil war, extremely rapid urbanization without any town or environmental planning, the break up of the family as a unit due to civil strife has taken a heavy toll on the Somali way of life. Old customs, traditions and buildings are breaking down at a very fast rate. If nothing is done to save the cultural and architectural heritage of the nation, irrevocable and irreversible damage would have taken place. Besides preservation there is a need to have museums and cultural centres at least in the State capitals. It needs a complete study by itself.

Documentation. There is a need to document and save old folk songs, folk stories, poetry, puppet and theatre group acts, music and other cultural events that use to take place. Even events like camel, horse and donkey races have a place in the cultural history of a nation. There has been a huge disruption in this sector because of the civil strife.

Cultural Position of Women. Unlike other nomadic Muslims societies. The women enjoy an enviable status in the Somali society. They are working in offices, shops, commercials organizations, running business enterprises besides getting educated in various skills. This way their contribution to the national economy is significant. An effort to further improve their standing and status providing more and better educational facilities particularly in the field of TVET would go a long way towards ameliorating their lot. It will also act as an example for other such societies.

Preservation of Archeological Sites. Should be undertaken by involving some of the donor organizations with long standing historical, cultural and other linkages and involvement in the Horn of Africa.

Historical Buildings In this connection besides preserving ancient archeological sites, traditions, customs, arts and crafts, the heritage in the field of construction, may be preserved. Some of the old colonial buildings made of stone and lime mortar are still standing. These elements are native to Somalia and not imported commodities like cement, aluminum, iron/steel or tiles etc. These buildings are environmentally friendly catering for the local climatic conditions. Besides creating jobs and employment, this will also create awareness and educate the public in preservation of their heritage and culture.