Wednesday August 8, 2018
By Abdirahman Hussein, Feisal Omar
A worker prepares to package a milk from Holstein Friesian cows into retail sachets at the Som milk farm in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Four Somali brothers have imported dozens of
Holstein Friesian cows, the world’s top milk producing breed, hoping the
high-risk strategy can build the war-torn country’s dairy industry from
Parts of the country are still plagued by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab,
but a degree of stability in the capital in recent years has begun to
attract investment from locals and Somalis living abroad.
Some businessmen see opportunities in the livestock industry, whose
mainstay is traditional breeds of cattle, reared by pastoralists, which
produce little milk. A devastating drought last year killed off
thousands of cows and camels. Yusuf Abdirahman Dahir, 49, who
manages Som Dairy and owns it with his brothers, said they have so far
spent $370,000 importing the cattle and infrastructure for milk
production, processing and distribution.
“We want to revive the
Somali dairy industry that got destroyed in the violence,” he said in an
interview at the dairy facility, a high stone-walled compound where a
couple dozen workers tended to the cattle.
The dairy, two kilometers outside the capital, produces 600 liters of
milk daily from 35 cows that are being milked. There are 54 dairy cows
in total on the property but some are not being milked due to calving.
Dahir, who sports hair dyed with red henna, said the new venture is not for the faint-hearted.
first batch of Holstein Friesian cows, which are native to the
Netherlands and Germany, died due to the heat in the Horn of Africa
region, where temperatures average above 30 degrees Celsius.
FRESH MILK OVER POWDERED
Som Dairy imported its first cows in 2016 and has become profitable, Dahir said, without providing figures.
farmers have been impressed by the new breed of cows in town and
several have brought their herds to crossbreed them with the imported
bulls, Dahir said.
A worker feeds a Holstein Friesian calf with milk at the Som milk
farm in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia August 1, 2018.
The venture is one of two by local dairies in the country of 14
million people, said Mohamed Omar, the government’s director of
livestock. He said his office is preparing a proposal to present to
cabinet on how government can support expanding the market for local
Residents of the Red Sea capital of Mogadishu
are developing a taste for fresh milk, after years of drinking powdered
milk imported from the Gulf that is mixed with water.
Nuradin Haji Omar is buying 20 liters of milk daily from Som Dairy, up
from 15 when he began buying from them last year: “We are very thankful
to the dairy company for the good business.”
a liter of milk to retailers at $1.20 and shopkeepers like Omar mark it
up to $1.50 per liter, cheaper than the camel milk sold by several
farms just outside Mogadishu for $2 per liter.