Somalia Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Livestock management is the country’s most important industry. Only about a tenth of Somalia’s area is suitable for cultivation and agriculture is practically only in the southern and northwestern parts of the country. Poor soils and the lack of rain mean that the crops are often small and many farmers grow only for their own use.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Somalia. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Most of the animals involved in livestock management are nomads. The most important product is milk, especially camel milk. The camels are traditionally managed solely by the men, while the women are usually responsible for sheep and goats. Southern Somalia also has cattle.

According to figures from the FAO, in 2014 there were about 7 million camels, 14 million sheep, 13 million goats and 5 million cows in Somalia. Livestock management is particularly important in Somaliland and Puntland. Much of the exports are via the ports of Berbera in Somaliland and Bossaso in Puntland. For Somalia defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

On plantations along the Shabelle and Juba rivers, bananas and citrus fruits are grown using modern methods. Food crops such as millet, sorghum, maize and vegetables are also grown there. Wild-growing trees give incense and myrrh. Nomads also do some cultivation as a side job.

Food production is lower than before the Civil War. In addition, both agriculture and livestock are affected by recurring drought. In 2004 and 2005, the rain came as they should, but was followed by several dry years. From the second half of 2010, the situation became acute in many parts of the country, when the entire region was hit by severe drought (see Modern History).

Competition for grazing land, agricultural areas and water resources has in many cases led to fighting between different clans and sub-clans.


Offshore waters include tuna, mackerel and shark. A small-scale fishing industry was built in the 1970s, but much was wasted during the civil war in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, several cooperatives resumed fishing on a small scale. As Somalia lacks a functioning coastguard, illegal fishing occurs in the country’s territorial waters. Both French and Spanish as well as Taiwanese vessels fish here.

Conflicting information exists about whether there is plenty of fish in Somali waters, or whether overfishing has caused stocks to decline. Some observers believe that the overseas fishing fleets’ overfishing caused piracy activities to develop along the Somali coast (see Somali pirates), others believe that other factors were of greater importance and that the fishing industry was never of great importance in Somalia. And it is cheaper to buy a can of tuna from Thailand in Somalia than the one caught in the country.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

62.7 percent (1990)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

70.3 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of SOM stands for the state of Somalia in geography.



Clan battles require at least 40 lives in Galkayo

November 22

On November 22, clashes erupt between local clans in the city of Galkayo. At least 40 people are killed. Galkayo is already a divided city, and will, as planned, remain so. Some will belong to Puntland, the other Galmudug interim, the first of which is dominated by the Darod clan, the second by hawiye. According to analysts, the new constitution and the creation of new regions have led to similar tensions elsewhere as well, and this is largely due to the change being driven from above without being anchored locally. This helps to strengthen the clan’s competition for influence. In Galkayo, a fragile ceasefire was concluded in early December, but the situation is still tense.


Islamic State causes divisions within al-Shabaab

A high-ranking leader of al-Shabaab expresses his support for the Islamic State (IS) terror group, paving the way for a division within the movement that has been connected to the terror network al-Qaeda since 2011. The play is not well taken up by the other leadership in al-Shabaab, which allows to arrest some 30 members suspected of being IS supporters.


New assaults on Amisom

al-Shabaab attacks an AU site in Janal on September 1. The militant group claims it killed at least 70 people. Locals say they have seen at least 20 dead AU soldiers. Prior to the attack, al-Shabaab had blown a bridge over a river to prevent the soldiers from escaping that route. At the beginning of the month, AU leaves the city of Buqda, the economic center of the Hiran region, which is then occupied by al-Shabaab. However, there are no battles. Two smaller cities south of Mogadishu also fall under al-Shabaab’s control.


More and more Somalis are returning from Yemen

UN agency Ocha says nearly 29,000 people have traveled to Somalia from Yemen since fighting blazed up there in March. About 90 percent of them are Somalis who have previously fled from starvation and war in their home country.


Planned choices are postponed

The government and Parliament agree that the democratic elections planned for 2016 cannot be carried out due to the poor security situation.

Operation Jubba corridor begins

Amisom goes on strike against al-Shabaab in the Bay and Godo regions south of Mogadishu in collaboration with Somali government forces. The offensive goes by the name “Operation Jubba Corridor” and is described as having the purpose of expelling the Islamist militia from all over southern Somalia. After a few days of fighting, it is reported that al-Shabaab was expelled from one of its most important bases in the city of Bardhere. Later, al-Shabaab is said to have also left the city of Dinsor without opposition. At least 18 people are killed and 21 injured in a suicide attack against a luxury hotel in Mogadishu.


Burundian soldiers target Islamist attack, over 70 dead

More than 70 AU troops Amisom are killed by al-Shabaab at a smaller AU base in Leego, between Baidoa and Mogadishu. Most of the soldiers in Leego come from Burundi. One day later, Amisom, together with Somali government forces, resumed the site without meeting resistance.


US Secretary of State visits Mogadishu

At the beginning of the month, John Kerry visits Mogadishu for talks with the President. He thus becomes the first US Secretary of State to visit the city.

Media are urged to call al-Shabaab for Ugus

Authorities prohibit Somali media from using the name al-Shabaab. Instead, they are asked to say Ugus, which basically means “the group massacring the Somali people”. al-Shabaab responds by saying that the government should also be called the same thing, within the meaning “the group that degrades the Somali people”.


Kenya announces closure of refugee camps

Shortly thereafter, the Kenyan government calls on the UN to close the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, where there are over half a million Somali refugees.

al-Shabaab takes on yet another attack in Kenya

At least 148 people are killed and about 40 injured when a group of armed men storm a university in the city of Garissa in northeastern Kenya, near the Somalia border. The assailants must have separated Christian and Muslim students. The Muslim students are released while the Christians are shot to death. al-Shabaab assumes responsibility for the act. Kenya responds with bombers to areas in the Gedo region of southern Somalia, where al-Shabaab has its bases. At least three civilians are said to have been killed.


Yemenis flee to Somalia, Somalis flee to Yemen

Dozens of Yemenis flee to Somalia away from fighting and Saudi bombings in Yemen. At the same time, Somalis are still reported to flee to Yemen.

New corruption charges

According to media, the Somali national accountant Nur Jumale Farah in April will present a report which according to preliminary information shows that corruption is widespread in all government departments. Of the 61 who are part of Farah’s working group, seven must have been suspended because they received bribes from the ministries they have investigated.

Terrorist suspects are killed in US drone attack

The United States says in a statement that it killed a leader of al-Shabaab, Adan Garar, in a drone attack near the city of Dinsoor, some 20 miles west of Mogadishu. Garar has been suspected of being behind the terrorist act against a mall in Kenya 2013 (see September 2013).


New attack on hotel in Mogadishu

February 20th

About 20 people, of which a Member of Parliament, are killed in a hotel in Mogadishu. Several people are also injured, including the country’s deputy prime minister. This attack also took on al-Shabaab. Many of the victims are killed in the hotel’s mosque during Friday prayers.

US bank stops money transfers

An American bank that transfers money from Somalis in the United States to their relatives in Somalia is prevented from doing so because of new rules designed to prevent money laundering. The bank usually brings in about $ 200 million a year. However, the Somali government warns that it could lead to the emergence of a black market that will be even more difficult to control.

New government approved

At the beginning of the month, Parliament approves the new ministers. This is the third time the members are voting on the new government.


New ministerial list is presented

Prime Minister Sharmarke presents his second ministerial list of 20 people, most of whom have no previous government experience. A first draft of Ministers was rejected earlier this month by Parliament, complaining that ten of them had been members of the previous government, which had not done enough.

Somalia Agriculture and Fishing