Every day, tens of thousands of camels are slaughtered across Somalia - a country where meals are heavily meat-driven. Tonnes of bones, hides, and hooves, among other culturally undesirable parts, are discarded. Under a United Kingdom-funded initiative, FAO is encouraging communities to earn more income by processing animal skins, making soap from bone marrow and crafts from camel bones.
After two decades of war, drought and underdevelopment, Somalia has almost no homegrown industries that produce basic commodities like soap. In Somaliland, less affected by recent conflict, the project represents a glimpse of hope and an example that the rest of the country might follow.
Camels are big business in Somalia, with a general annual export value estimated at over $250 million.
With SEED programme enterprise activities, Somalia's domestic meat production is on the path of realising full value by exploiting what was hitherto waste. Dr Abdi Aw Dahir Ali, Somaliland's livestock minister said when livestock bones are fully utilised, by producing soap and crafts, the value of livestock increases significantly by 30 to 60%.
Soap and bone craft production are slowly but surely launching into the Somali market. There now are plans to expand these ideas across Somalia, as means of creating more jobs and income in the war-torn country. So far, 120 Somali youths, mostly young women have already been trained and have started producing.