Habibo Ahmed Omar is a 26 years old farmer and she is the mother of 2 daughters and 3 sons. Her family consists of 7 members including herself & her husband. She was wearing greenish veil and women’s dress with slippers on her foot and she was carrying her youngest son on her back when she was taking the seeds offered by CED/Oxfam Novib. Habibo lives in Jeerow village, Qoryoley district, L/Shabelle.
Habibo was born and married in that village and currently she is the mother of 5 children. Habibo is a farmer woman; she has been farming for almost 18 years. Farming was a great inheritance for Habibo because her grand fathers have been well known farmers in the village because they were farmers who used to cultivate and use the production of their farming lands. She has a farming land in the village where she currently cultivates with many different kinds of crops including maize, sesame and beans.
Habibo told that she is amazingly satisfied and happy to be a farmer woman because she said that she likes to continue the heredity of her grandfathers and mothers and stated that there are a number of difficulties usually faced by woman farmers, while Habibo talking about such incidents she started her speech:
“In the first place, we are always treated badly by our men because they don’t know that women are very weak who can’t endure a single trouble, you are a women and also you are a mother you are not as complete as men who can handle everything and also can solve all his problems. So the reality is that it is doubtless women and men are not treated equally so it’s obvious that all the woman farmers suffer from the harms of men because they always like to use the women as slaves and compel them to carry out heavy tasks”.
Habibo remembered what life was before the drought hit their area and she said that there life was pretty well before the huge disaster of the drought and in the meantime she confirmed that it was tremendously dark period for every one living in the drought hit areas of Lower Shabelle Region and said this.
It was at the beginning of 2009 when it last rained so how possibly we are able to find something to eat while we are missing a single dot of rain” Habibo said.
She told that she was present for lack of food for a whole day without getting something to eat and she experienced a difficult time which she has given only water to her children after failing to eat a single crop. Habibo said that sometimes her husband used to go town and use wheelbarrow to get something to survive from the hunger. Habibo said again:
“At the present we face many difficulties while struggling with our daily life because we are farmers we knew only how to harvest the crop but when we miss rain for our farms we became like disabled person who don’t know where to go, the food prices has extremely increased and also the income of our families decreased more rapidly, we were only eating 1 meal during the whole day when the drought hit us in 2010/2011”.
As a female farmer Habibo described how typically she works in the field and the hours she spends in the field and of course normally she takes care of her children. Habibo told CED staff that she works for 12 consecutive hours in the field by carrying out a lot of different activities when cultivating the farm. Habibo’s children don’t get the best sort of childcare because she told the team that she always spends more time in the field. Habibo then said:
“Every morning when I wake up I think about the farm and whether it rained, I always think to get proper irrigation for my farm since our whole life depends on the production of our farming land. The end of the day I feel relax and happy when I see my farm getting proper irrigation, my biggest challenge is the endless fighting and conflict in Somalia which caused the death of many Somalis and also the increasing level of disgracing women’s dignity by depriving of their basic rights and using them as slaves; we have rights but I wish one day justice will come to us and women’s rights will shine in Somalia”.
There has been some difficulties faced by Habibo when farming this area while most of the difficulties were regarding to lack of the appropriate facilities for her farming land when she cultivates the crop and told CED team that she will be out from this scarcity of inputs when she received the agriculture seeds & tools which were part of the CED implementing Famine Response Project funded by Oxfam Novib. Habibo takes care of her crops in the best appropriate way of which she experienced from her parents and grandparents. She told CED team that she knows more about the harvesting operations and how nicely to cultivate the farm; she also declared that she benefited a lot from the CED/Oxfam training on Improved Farming practices and that will help her to gain agriculture skills.
Habibo currently cultivates 1 & half hectares of land which she said is enough and fit to cover the needs of the family and in the future she expects to cultivate 2 & half hectors.
“There will be great change in our life after CED/Oxfam Novib’s assistance because I have received 20 kg of seed (maize), land preparation support and agriculture tools; this support will help us to live in better life than before and our family will get access to eat from our crops getting out of the famine” Habibo added
She continued her speech by saying in lower voice:
“Without CED/Oxfam’s support, I don’t really know what to describe how our life would look if we did not receive this assistance. Many people would die because of hunger so you came at the right moment we need help”
Since the food prices increased at high rate this has impacted the lives of thousands of Somalis who live under series conditions in particular when these people need to buy seeds from the market to cultivate their farms and Habibo completely worried that her family could not afford to buy a single seed from the market when the food prices continued increasing and this could result the end of their farming activities and then loss of their life.
Habibo Ahmed Omar, finally spoke about her hopes about the future for her family by saying:
“Everyone has a wish or hope; so, me too. If I talk about the my hope for my family, it is that I and my husband to be well known farmers who will cultivate large land because of this assistance of the agriculture tools and seeds and with proper crop husbandry practices we will be productive farmers who will produce more from land to improve our livelihoods conditions in the future”.