Agricultural policy describes a set of policies or laws relating to domestic agriculture and imports of foreign agricultural products. Governments usually implement agricultural policies with the goal of achieving a specific outcome in the domestic agricultural product markets for the benefit of the farming community and the nations’ economy at large.
Agricultural policies take into consideration the value chain which starts with the preparation of production of a primary commodity and ends with the consumption of the final product and it includes all the economic activities undertaken between these phases such as: primary production, for instance, all processes of soil cultivation, crop establishment, fertilization, crop protection, harvesting and secondary like manufacturing or processing of goods which provides value addition to agricultural products, creating facilities for primary processing, delivery, and also activities performed during tertiary such as service sector wholesaling, retailing and banking.
Analyzing value chain provide favorable agriculture policies encompassing everything from primary production sector- Secondary sector and tertiary sector. Policies are important in providing guidelines and directions to be followed in improving domestic agriculture production, and thus reduce poverty. It also helps farmers to use improved inputs. Policies also help the commercialization of smallholder agriculture and increased value addition.
However, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Development to produce policies, rules and regulations governing the importations, supply, use and quality of any input imported for agricultural purpose and will help to oversee the development of the agricultural sector in Somaliland which has been in existence for over 25 years, but still lacks coherent national agricultural policy (s), rules and regulations.
The Ministry of Agriculture Development should ensure coordination mechanism among stakeholders in the sector including among others, private sector, international aid organizations and other governmental bodies have a comprehensive policies in place.
Therefore, after the essential policies are established, it will guide the Ministry of Agriculture Development and other stakeholders in the sector. It will allow sector stakeholders to engage in productive and profitable sartorial activities while at the same time ensuring that the interest and wellbeing of the general public are adequately addressed and protected.
Objectives of Any Agriculture Institution
- To improve capacity of the institution, departments and relevant sectors
- To Improve the technological infrastructure needed to support services
- To establish policy framework, viable National Agriculture Strategic Plan, Action plan, monitoring, and evaluation Programme.
- To develop human resources at at all levels within the institution
- Modernizing existing institutions and supporting them in forming sound policy framework, organizational structures, terms of reference for individuals of departments and sectors and effective methods of management
- Develop relevant programmes to enhance management skills
- Improve Coordination w2ithin the institution and stake holders in the sector
Key Policy Issues
- Food security and nutrition development
- Manage pest and diseases problems
- Improving farmers access to new technology and planting methods
- Institutional capacity building and human resource development
- Sustainable Watershed management
- Infrastructure, marketing, trade and investment development
- Strengthening agriculture Research and extension services
- Seed production , processing and storage
- Improving farmers access to new technology
- Post-harvest handling and technology
- Agriculture Cooperatives
- Improving information collection, analysis, storage and dissemination
- Irrigation to introduce stability in agricultural output
- Commercialization and intensification of production especially among small scale farmers
The key areas of policy concern, therefore, include:
- Increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, especially for small-holder farmers.
- Emphasis on irrigation to reduce over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture in the face of limited high potential agricultural land.
- Encouraging Commercialization diversification and intensification of production into non-traditional agricultural commodities and value addition to reduce vulnerability.
- Enhancing the food security and a reduction in the number of those suffering from hunger and hence the achievement of MDGs.
- Encouraging private-sector-led development of the sector.
- Strengthening Research Extension and information dissemination
- Appropriate and participatory policy formulation and environmental Sustainability
- Ensuring environmental sustainability.
Formulated and approved sector policies
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, myrrh and gum are all indigenous economic production activities of the country, and therefore, the state should encourage them.
However, despite of the high importance given to the sector in the Constitution, there are no parliament-approved legal framework, but a draft document and have not been enacted or implemented, as presented in the following:
- Somaliland Food and Water Security Strategy …………………Passed in 2014
- Land Resources Tenure and Agricultural Land Use………….…In draft form
- National Agricultural Policy – In draft form
- Master Plan for Reconstruction and Development of Somaliland Agriculture. …..In draft form
- Agriculture Rule and Regulation. ……………………In draft form
The above documents was prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture development with funding from the European Union in 2008. They have to be reviewed and approved and submitted to parliament for approval.
Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi