Warka beeralayda iskaashatadda Hodma Cooperative

Frankincense is sacred plant, it is medicine. It was given to us by God, and it belongs to the people of the world. For centuries, Somaliland farmers in Sanaag have been the caretakers of this sacred tree. We understand this plant and its medicine better than anyone. But the farmers here are also among the poorest people in Somaliland, and the most vulnerable to exploitation.
For the past five years, the Frankincense & Myrrh industry in Somaliland has been infiltrated by foreign raiders who masquerade as scientists, tree researchers and aid workers to gain access to the two species of Boswellia trees that only grow here. In reality, these people are representing multimillion-dollar corporations. They seek to gain economic advantage and control of resins by making promises to poor Somaliland farmers for humanitarian projects they will never fulfill… water, schools, hospitals. They sell their lies through corrupt Somali middlemen who buy resins at $5 a kilo and sell for $20, but then never even pay the farmers. They give them food and khat on credit, not money. These gangsters exploit their own people, then run from the country with the help of their families, bribing government officials with ill-gotten gains, with little care for the mayhem they create.
Frankincense should be a much more important industry for Somaliland, but its growth has been artificially repressed by this corruption and greed and a central government that encourages savvy foreigners who exploit Frankincense farmers. Instead of  protecting the farmers, the central government has been either ignorant or complicit in this exploitation. How can you allow this to continue and expect to win the trust of the people of Sanaag?
Some farmers may wish to keep things as they are, but the majority desire change. We want to develop the gums and resin industry in Somaliland, without foreign intrusion and in collaboration with members of government who will represent us. The full power of Frankincense, the botanical medicine that can help fight autoimmune diseases like cancer, is yet to be known. We wish to explore this with Somaliland scientists, in Somaliland laboratories, and with international partners we determine. When this power is revealed, its value to the world will help elevate our people from poverty, so all the people of Somaliland will enjoy good health and prosperity. We will be able to pursue education, business and other goals of worth in this lifetime.
President Bihi, will you be the one to break this cycle of corruption and help Somaliland Frankincense farmers bring this sacred medicinal plant to market, the way we know it is intended by God, in its most pure and natural form? We believe Frankincense can be the hope and pride of the Somaliland people. Frankincense can give us an international identity.
Ahmed M. Dhunkaal
Chairman, Hodma Gums & Resins


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