Somalia is one step closer to resuming exports of its famous high-quality bananas following the operations of an export company on Sunday (December 16th) in Mogadishu amid renewed optimism and hope.
Ever since al Qaeda affiliated rebels were pushed out of the city by African Union troops, Mogadishu has been slowly recovering. Somalia’s large diaspora community have been the primary growth driver of Mogadishu’s new property and investment boom and gloom.
Fruit Som said they plan to form an umbrella arm for Somali growers so they can meet foreign market demands according to Mogadishu-based Shabelle media.
Sheikh Osman, the Head of Fruit Som, said he hopes to work with hundreds of small farmers to grow and pick the fruit, and ensure they meet foreign markets’ requirements.
Somalia’s plans to resume its once thriving main cash crop comes after a gap of almost two decades.
Before the collapse of the central government in 1991, Somalia had reputation for its high-quality bananas. Somalia was the largest exporter of the crop in East Africa, which reached the Middle East and EU markets. According to recent surveys, the Somali banana is still preferred in places such as the United Arab Emirates and Iran for its pure organic taste.
At its peak of production, Somalia used about 12,000ha of land to produce the crop and it employed roughly 120,000 people. Researchers also claimed that the Somali bananas do not experience major pests or diseases and that the riverine soil was rich in nutrients. Currently the country grows bananas in 3,000ha for local consumption in green and ripened form.
It hopes to restore its once beloved crop and start shipping consignments to Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf states as well as Iran.