Marwa Agro-Pastoral Cooperative Farm was established in 2019. The cooperative has 50-hectares of land for agricultural production with two borehole water wells, which yield 30 liters of water per second. The cooperative has a herd of 35 camels for dairy production to serve the local Jijiga market. Milk production averages at 100 liters of fresh camel milk per day.
The Faafan zone of Ethiopia is a fertile agriculture region. With the government prioritizing private sector investment in the industry and incentivizing the creation and development of cooperatives, there is a compelling case for supporting agricultural cooperatives in the region.
There is also a high and unmet demand for camel milk in Jijiga and Somali in general. The community is willing to pay good prices for fresh camel milk. As much of this production is currently happening in the informal market, there is an opportunity to build out formal production and mechanization of processing to help meet growing demand.10
Supporting the growth of cooperatives can promote social integration and cohesion among refugee and host communities. As these communities around Jijiga share a similar culture, lifestyle and language, cooperation is already a more natural component of their existence, though not without its challenges. This cohesion can be built upon through investment and capacity building of cooperatives such a Marwa. Investment will further have a direct impact on the income generation and employment capacity of the cooperative members.
As the cooperative grows, it may be able to expand its product offering to the market. This could include either integration of new smallholder members into the cooperative or developing an out-grower model in which they source produce from refugee farmers to aggregate and sell at the larger markets that the smallholder farmers would not have access to on their own.
As we have seen a shift in the development and humanitarian assistance programs from in-kind donations to cash transfers for displaced populations, there are new and developing opportunities to expand programs that support produce markets near refugee settlements.11 Additionally, there is an opportunity to provide incentives and subsidies for cooperatives such as Marwa to sell produce and milk directly to WFP through their local procurement initiative or set up market systems to sell good directly to refugees.
Co-operative members include: Dr. Muktar Yusuf Mussie (Manager), Mushtak Shiekh Mohamed, Mohamed Muktar Yusuf and Majda Muktar Yusuf.