Do we overlook greenhouse vegetable production technology in Somaliland?



The greenhouse farming raises the hope of our farmers as it is the only possible technology to grow vegetables throughout the year recompensing farmers with vegetables throughout the year at affordable prices. The idea is to support farmers help increase the incomes of rural households, due to scarcity of water and low production per annum.

If the greenhouse technology is widely embraced, Somaliland could start enjoying year-round supply of vegetables or else business as usual because sowing vegetable seeds in outdoors has been difficult and will continue to do so. Unless opted the otherwise (green houses or indoor horticulture) which is more productive than outdoor fields.

However, growing crops under greenhouse has many advantages, among them the ability to produce huge quantities on a small piece of land and continuous harvesting. The shelf life of the vegetables will also increase as compared with for those growing in the open. It takes a shorter period for greenhouse produced vegetables to mature, while it takes more in the open field.

The obvious reason to grow greenhouse vegetables is to have crops at a time of year when they can’t be grown outdoors In general, tall greenhouse crops (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers) are indeterminate (vining) types, chosen to take advantage of the vertical height of the greenhouseIndeterminate vegetable crops produces a continuous output of flowers and fruits, all at different stages. For example, one tomato plant has a potential of up-to 2 kg at first harvest, going up-to 35 kg by the time it has completed its full cycle-recommended at one year. For those plants with vines are supported inside the greenhouse with sticks and strings, growing up to 2 meters in height. If well looked after, one greenhouse (20 by 10 meter) can produce 20 tons or more of tomato.

Some of the Vegetable crop varieties are generally susceptible to diseases requiring heavy application of pesticides but under the greenhouse growing technologies which come with basic training on hygiene, most of common infections are easily kept at bay. Also kept at bay are insects and other pests known to invade plants as well as seeds. Apart from huge part of production costs, less labor is employed in a greenhouse, while exposure to chemical toxins associated with the application of pesticides is minimized or eliminated altogether. It’s also good for the environment.

 However, inputs for the greenhouse vegetable production is available in Somaliland. Horn gardens is a notable company owned by Somali landers whosupply and install greenhouses with   drip Irrigation technology. In addition to that, they provide fertilizers, pest control, soil analysis and agro-support trainings andextension services for the farmers. In short the greenhouse advantages is extended season and higher quality and higher yield.

The introduction of greenhouse vegetables in Somaliland heralds what could be a major shift from low volume open farming to hybrid high yielding methods, which, if adopted could lead to massive improvements in crop production, output, incomes and ultimately self-sufficiency in food production.

Eventhough, greenhouse vegetable gardening increases productivity for vegetable crops, the initial cost for acquiring and installing greenhouse is high. Despite greater investment, return on investment is expected to be obtained in two seasonsI believe that if the current trend of buying greenhouses and installing them into the fields continue like this in the years ahead, there will be significant changes in the production of vegetables consumed here in Somaliland.


Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi

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