Wednesday July 15, 2020
Osman Mahamud Gedi, father of seven, has been back and forth to the livestock market at Wasil, 60 km from Hobyo town in central Somalia’s Galmudug state, in the past two weeks trying to sell four goats.
His family’s herd of 80 goats, survivors of recent drought, are now in prime condition after good grazing. But Wasil market, where normally 200 animals would exchange hands every day, is now practically closed for business.
Gedi even walked 30 km to the Gawan livestock market with his goats, but after 10 days he still had no buyers.The knock-on effects of Coronavirus restrictions on the economy are being hard felt in this part of the country.
“It’s rare to find anyone with money these days,” Gedi said.
“The best offer I could get were from those who wanted to take the goats on credit for reselling, but I’d rather slaughter the goats for the family or let them graze and wait for another day than give them away on credit.”
Hundreds of Somali pastoralists like Gedi are finding it hard to sell their animals, at a time when business should be brisk due to the approaching Arafah festival, when Muslims buy animals for ritual slaughter.
“We rely on the money we make from selling our animals to buy rice, sugar, clothes, and other items, and we can’t even get those things on credit now because no one is giving credit these days,” explained Gedi.
Ali Mohamed Jama, nicknamed Ali Madobe, is a broker at Wasil livestock market. He told Radio Ergo that he has not made a single transaction for nearly two weeks.
“Pastoralists have stopped bringing in animals because no one is buying. Even the butchers in town are complaining of slow business,” he said.
The slowdown started in early June, when goat prices began falling from $60 to $30 per head, despite the improved condition of the animals after the rain.
Hassan Nur Elim, a herder with 68 goats in rural Wisil, is very worried because his family depends on livestock. He told Radio Ergo that his family of eight is struggling to make ends meet.
“About three days ago, I took six goats to the market hoping to sell them and buy food with the money. But I did not make any sales,” he said, feeling dejected about the state of the livestock market.