News / Africa

Somali Farmers Call for Help to Improve Production

Business is booming in Balad, Somalia on July 3, 2012 after al-Shabab militants were pushed out of the city. (VOA/M. Yusuf)
Business is booming in Balad, Somalia on July 3, 2012 after al-Shabab militants were pushed out of the city. (VOA/M. Yusuf)
BALAD, Somalia — Balad area in central Somalia is returning to normalcy after the farming town was liberated more than a week ago by African Union forces and Somali government soldiers. Now, residents in the town of Balad are ready to reclaim their livelihoods.

For nearly five years al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab controlled Balad, 30 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

An area known for its agriculture, al-Shabab routinely extorted money from farmers in the Shabelle region to finance their war against the transitional federal government.

One Balad resident, Ali Sheikh Ahmed, said farmers like him were forced to pay rent on their own land when al-Shabab was in control.

"For the past four years nothing was going on in this town, Ahmed says, al-Shabab did nothing to help the people, even though they were collecting money here.  He said they never allowed humanitarian assistance to come in," said Ahmed.

Ahmed said he would like these farmers to be helped. He added that  "the farmland here is productive. Any aid might not help them much.  It is good if they produce their own food, and trust that their land will provide.  To help them, it is good to put in more effort into farming."

Another resident, fruit seller Idhil Khalif Ali said al-Shabab forcerd her to leave town after accusing her of collaborating with the government. She said al-Shabab chased her away for two years, but now she is back.  But during that time, she said, she did not see her home and children.

Women sell fruit at a market in Bala'ad, Somalia on July 3, 2012, as soldiers stand guard. (VOA/M. Yusuf)Women sell fruit at a market in Bala'ad, Somalia on July 3, 2012, as soldiers stand guard. (VOA/M. Yusuf)
x
Women sell fruit at a market in Bala'ad, Somalia on July 3, 2012, as soldiers stand guard. (VOA/M. Yusuf)
Women sell fruit at a market in Bala'ad, Somalia on July 3, 2012, as soldiers stand guard. (VOA/M. Yusuf)
"The reason they drove me away," she said, “was because they said I was working for the government, I was not working for anyone of them, but just my children. I am just a poor woman."

The stories of abuse and extortion coming out of Balad are part of a pattern repeating itself across the country, in areas under al-Shabab control.

But as the militants lose ground, small towns outside of Mogadishu are becoming busy again.  People are returning to their homes and businesses.  Fear and anxiety are slowly lifting as peace and security return.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid