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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid