Despite the constant attacks by al Shabaab, one man is determined to successfully run his dairy business in Mogadishu.
Abdulkadir Mohamed Salad arrived in Somalia after years of living in England with one vision: to set up the first dairy business in his country.
He had to contend with a lot of factors: the constant attacks by al Shabaab that keeps interfering with electricity supply, distribution of milk, constant closure of the factory due to insecurity and that not many Somalis take cow milk.
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“It is very difficult to invest in a hostile environment like Somalia in the first place and secondly, people here know very little about the dairy business,” Salad told AFP.
Salad had left Somalia after the fall of Siad Barre and had been living as a refugee in Britain working in the dairy sector in Leicester. He left his wife and three children back in the UK to come and focus on starting up the business.
The Irman Dairy was set up after the realisation that Somalia did not have a processing firm, meaning that most of the milk goes to waste especially since the previous mishandling of the product led many to believe that cow milk is dangerous for their health.
“Livestock is one of the economic resources of Somalia … but tonnes of powdered milk are imported every year while our resources are wasted here, and few are benefiting,” Salad said.
Although the factory’s capacity is 10,000 litres a day, they only produce 2,000 litres because of various challenges including lack of market.
The issue of electricity was solved when the company received a solar system.
“We are very lucky that we got the solar system to run the factory now, otherwise we could have closed it down because energy is big issue here,” said Salad.
He has so far started distributing packed milk to supermarkets across Mogadishu.
Imran Dairy is one of the new business popping up in the city which still struggles with terror attacks.