Somalia registers record exports of 5 million livestock in 2014
This is the highest number of live animals exported from Somalia in the last 20 years.
The export data, collected by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), indicates that Somalia exported 4.6 million goats and sheep, 340,000 cattle and 77,000 camels in 2014, worth an estimated $360 million.
Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy, contributing 40 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product.
"This is a key milestone for the Somalia's livestock sector that reflects the large investments being made to support the commercial development of the livestock sector to become more competitive in international markets," said Said Hussein Iid, Somalia's Minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range.
"This is important for both Somalia's economy in general and for the livelihoods of the millions of livestock owners throughout Somalia."
"The sector's potential is enormous," Iid added.
"This shows that despite the challenges, the Somali people are successfully working to improve their economy and food security," said Richard Trenchard, head of FAO's office for Somalia. "FAO and our partners are committed to remaining engaged and involved in supporting those efforts."
Buyers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait Qatar and United Arab Emirates have all taken advantage of Somalia's thriving livestock scene and its improved disease surveillance and control mechanisms.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, has contributed to steadily rising exports over the last six years, following a move to lift a 9-year ban on the import of livestock from Somalia aimed at preventing the spread of Rift Valley fever. ■