Country livestock Analysis

Somaliland is traditionally a country endowed with livestock which makes the largest activity in the rural areas where communities are pastoralists. Livestock rearing in form of pastoralism has been and is a source of livelihood and has become one of the Somaliland’s largest foreign income earner. Livestock production accounts for 60-65% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Based on 1998 FAO estimates of livestock numbers and past growth rates, Somaliland has about 1.69 million camels, 0.40 million head of cattle, 8.4 million goats and 8.75 million sheep in 2011. The Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer regions account for about 75% of all livestock.


Camels are mainly dairy animals in Somalia although there are no data on production. Camels are also used as pack animals when moving camps and to a limited extent in commercial transport. Due to its special features it can transverse arid and semi-arid areas during dry period going without water for several days. Young camels have a tender meat that is delicious and enjoyed by many Somalis.

The meat is offered for sell in most Somali restaurants located in major towns at a high cost compared to goats and sheep. Traditionally, it is animal of social prestige among the Somalis and the more you have the higher you are in the social strata. The hides of the camel are exported to Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong among others and it generates foreign currency for the both Somaliland. The year 2010 marked a milestone in Somalia’s livestock history as the country exported 4.3 million livestock, the highest figure ever recorded. Though this figure includes animals from southern Ethiopia and Djibouti, this makes Somalia’s livestock sector the largest contributor to most of the citizens’ livelihoods.The importance of livestock to the livelihoods and the economy of Somaliland makes it imperative for a lot of emphasis to be put in this sector. To achieve this, Somaliland through partners and regional authorities, implements projects supporting pastoralists and agro- pastoralists focusing on animal health, animal production and marketing and in addition to supporting organizational, institutional and policy development. Key activities in Somaliland’s livestock sector are all geared towards boosting the livestock sector at different levels. Key goals include;

  • improving economic growth and employment in the livestock sector;
  • decreasing the vulnerability of pastoralists’ livelihoods due to epidemic diseases outbreaks;
  • improving the productivity of the livestock sector
  • promoting the marketing of livestock and livestock commodities;
  • promoting meat hygiene and enhancing the national human resources capacity through training and;
  • Support to disease surveillance and certification.

These interventions range from emergency interventions to support livelihoods and save assets during natural calamities to rehabilitation and development, all geared towards longer – term sustainable wealth creation for the pastoral and agro- pastoral communities. Pastoralists exist throughout Somaliland with high concentrations of strict pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the eastern areas.