Somaliland Seeks Improved Chickpea and Groundnut Varieties to Boost Food Security

Somaliland Seeks Improved Chickpea and Groundnut Varieties to Boost Food Security

By Abdirahman Abdilahi

Somaliland’s Institute of Agricultural Research (SIAR) is partnering with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to obtain improved varieties of chickpeas and groundnuts. This initiative builds on ICRISAT’s successful contribution of enhanced sorghum, pearl millet, and pigeonpea seeds, which have already helped boost crop yields and food security in the region.

SIAR recognizes the importance of chickpeas and groundnuts for local farmers. Unlike some crops currently grown, chickpeas and groundnuts are legumes, known for their nitrogen-fixing abilities. This means they can enrich the soil, reducing reliance on fertilizers and potentially improving overall agricultural sustainability. Additionally, both chickpeas and groundnuts are drought-tolerant, making them well-suited to Somaliland’s climate.

By introducing improved varieties of these crops, SIAR believes they have the potential to significantly improve livelihoods and combat malnutrition rates.

To allow for proper evaluation during the 2025 growing season, SIAR has requested that ICRISAT ideally provide the improved chickpea and groundnut varieties by November 2024. This timeline will ensure enough time for planting and data collection.

The introduction of these new varieties is expected to bring multiple benefits:

  • Improved Food Security: Higher yielding and more resilient chickpea and groundnut varieties can lead to a more stable food supply for Somaliland.
  • Enhanced Nutrition: Both chickpeas and groundnuts are excellent sources of protein and essential nutrients, critical for reducing malnutrition, a major concern in Somaliland.
  • Increased Farmer Income: Higher yields from improved varieties can lead to greater profits for farmers.
  • Sustainable Agricultural Practices: These new crops, with their nitrogen-fixing properties, may contribute to more sustainable farming methods in Somaliland.

SIAR is committed to working within formal seed access procedures to ensure the responsible introduction and distribution of these improved varieties.

This collaboration between SIAR and ICRISAT holds promise for the future of agriculture in Somaliland. By introducing improved chickpea and groundnut varieties, the project aims to enhance food security, nutrition, farmer income, and sustainable agricultural practices in the region.

Abdirahman Abdilahi
Head of field Crops and Researcher for Somaliland Institute of Agriculture Research

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