A ministerial committee in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland has started discussions on ways of resolving a food crisis worsened by runaway inflation in the country.
"We are here to search for solutions to the recent inflation and the food crisis facing the nation this year," Ali Mohamed Waran'adde, the civil aviation minister and chairman of the select committee, said at a news conference in Hargesia, the region's capital.
The committee, comprising nine members of Somaliland's Council of Ministers, held their first closed-door meeting on 13 August.
Waran'adde said the committee was looking at ways of improving the country's financial situation and boosting people's livelihoods through increasing income-generating activities.
Somaliland has, in the past six months, experienced drought, compounded by rising inflation, a situation that has led to sharp increases in food prices.
Members of the ministerial committee include Finance Minister Hussein Ali Du'ale, Qasim Qodah (Commerce), Mohamed Saleeban Weyne (Industry), Ali Mohamed Qorsef (Fishery) and Qasim Sh. Yusuf (Minerals).
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Sources told IRIN the ministers were planning to increase revenue tariffs to raise the government's income, but the committee chairman, Waran'adde, said their main objective was to find ways of curbing inflation and improving the people's livelihoods.
"The meetings will continue in the coming days, and there is no discussion on the increase of tariffs; we are just dealing with the current problems in the country," Waran'adde said.
He added: "The recent inflation has led to the doubling of food prices and we have to find ways of dealing with this crisis."
On 26 July, Agriculture Minister Aden Ahmed Elmi issued a statement appealing to the international community for emergency aid, saying the food shortage was worsening.
"We are calling on UN agencies, international aid organizations, Islamic countries, as well as the whole world to come to our aid as we are experiencing a difficult situation of food shortages because we didn't get rain on time, and inflation has led to increases in the price of food items," the minister said.
Elmi said the "Gu" rains were delayed, resulting in many farmers failing to cultivate and plant crops. He said army worms had also destroyed crops planted earlier.
He said a survey jointly conducted by his ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organisation's food security assessment unit had found massive crop failure across the country, adding: For this reason it is important to call for emergency aid, to get a quick response for food aid.”