SOMALIA – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has pledged to substantially strengthen its support to Somalia, immediately making US$11.6 million available and mobilizing resources for a new US$50 million agricultural development project, including providing seeds, irrigation, training in climate-smart and adaptation technics to improve crop and livestock production.

IFAD’s renewed direct investments are now made possible thanks to Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Sweden, which supported Somalia in clearing its arrears to IFAD.

The arrears prevented Somalia from benefiting from IFAD’s highly concessional loans and grants since 1991 when the civil war started in Somalia.

The country has received several projects that are intended to cushion it from climate shocks, such as the Integrated Land and Water Resources Management project, which was funded by the European Union and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The project was implemented through FAO’s Somalia, Water, and Land Management (SWALIM) Programme has built water harvesting and storage systems in Qardho, Puntland, and Xabaale, Somaliland using clean solar energy.

Fresh Del Monte Produce has entered the Horn of Africa after partnering with Moze Holding Limited, a Talc Investment company to reestablish banana farming in the previously famed banana belt area.

The multi-year banana partnership will not only significantly reduce banana transport times, giving consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) access to fresher, lower-cost fruit, but will also aid in Somalia’s economic resurgence.

As part of the agreement, Fresh Del Monte will have operational oversight and train the team on the ground. In return, the global produce distributor will purchase its banana supply directly from Moze, the newly established banana farm. The fruit will be sold and marketed under the Fresh Del Monte brand for its markets in the Middle East, with the first harvest expected in 2024.

“We believe this is a game-changer for the banana industry in the region,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte’s chairman and CEO.

“The move to reestablish banana operations in Somalia makes sense on many accounts – from its strategic location on the Horn of Africa to fulfilling our mission of supplying our consumers with fresh produce – all while aiding in the country’s recovery.”

Somalia ranked 77th in the world for banana production in 2021, behind El Salvador’s 16,110 metric tons. Report Linker projects the country’s banana production to drop 6.2% year-on-year over the next five years to reach 11,140 metric tons by 2026.

According to Selina Wamucii, an end-to-end platform for sourcing food and agricultural produce from cooperatives, the approximate current price range for Somalia Bananas is between US$ 0.68 and US$ 0.9 per kilogram or between US$ 0.31 and US$ 0.41 per pound(lb).

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