Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Fresh food sellers in Galmudug put out of business by Hiran floods

Monday May 22, 2023

A severe shortage of fresh vegetables has caused local businesses in the central Somali town of Adado to close, as river flooding in breadbasket districts like Beletweyne have cut off supply routes.

Sahro Mohamed Ali, a mother of 10, has had nothing to sell at her stall in Adado since 20 April, when trucks stopped arriving. She normally sells tomatoes, bananas, onions and potatoes.

This had a huge impact on Sahro’s family who depend on her business for a living. She is currently making less than a dollar, down from her normal $5-6 a day.

“The vegetables are rotting on the road. When they became expensive people couldn’t afford to buy so my stall closed. People can’t afford the food because we are all in the same position, there is little money,” she said.

Scarcity has doubled the price of tomatoes from $12 to $24. Sahro paid $25 for a delivery of fresh produce from Beledweyne two weeks ago, but the trucks took 11 days to reach Adado and everything was spoiled.

“We don’t make any profit, and we can’t save anything. If God blesses us we will see, and if not we pray that we get a different path,” she said stoically.

“I’ll sit in this place as long as I can, there is no meat or milk at home but I’ll still sit at my stall. If I get half a dollar I will take it and if I don’t get anything I will leave the place,” Sahro said.

She has taken 25 kilograms each of flour, rice and sugar for her family on credit and has a debt of $70. The $10 rent for her stall is overdue. She also defaulted on her three children’s school fees of $26 in April and fears they will be sent home.

As family breadwinner with a jobless husband, she is worried that her seven-year-old business will fold up.

Another vegetable seller in town, Ayan Mohamed Farah, has also had nothing to sell and no income for three weeks.

“I support the family from the vegetable business. Everything has become expensive, water has blocked the road, and prices are rising. When the vegetables were cheap we made a profit but now we can’t even recover our costs. I have no other income besides this stall, our living comes from there,” she explained.

For the past six years Ayan has been counting on selling 11 sacks of various fresh produce that she used to have delivered from southern regions. Now there are some onions and potatoes coming in from Ethiopia, but little else.

Her husband, who herds their last remaining 30 goats that survived the drought outside town, is selling off goats now to feed the family of six children and elderly parents.

Galmudug ministry of commerce officer for small and medium enterprise, Maryan Ali Osman, said the flooding in agricultural areas had brought unemployment to an estimated 23,000 local people, who rely on the sale of fresh produce.

“The small business people in Galmudug need help. They are facing hardships; these people have lost their livelihood. You can understand a family that loses a business that has been supporting them for a long time,” she said.

Many of those now struggling had set up low-capital grocery shops to make ends meet, she explained, after being hit by prolonged drought and conflict.

If the supply routes remain closed until June, she warned that people in Adado area could be on the verge of famine.


Click here