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Bananas: Somalis love to eat them but many can no longer afford this popular lunchtime staple

Bananas: Somalis love to eat them but many can no longer afford this popular lunchtime staple

Hirsia Abdulle Siad is unusual for two reason. First, she is the only Somali woman (one of the few Somali women) to run a large farm and company to grow and sell bananas. Two, she sells yellow bananas while most of her competitors sell green ones.

She started SomFresh Fruits and Vegetables Inc. eight years ago, mainly selling bananas but also mango, papaya, watermelon, lemons and other fruits and vegetables.

Hirsia tells Bilan Media how the green bananas from her farm are treated with anti-bacterial spray when they arrive in her warehouse. They are stored in air-conditioned rooms for five day. During this period they ripen into beautiful, sweet-tasting yellow bananas.

Early in the mornings, Hirsia and her staff load the bananas into trucks and take them around Mogadishu, selling them to small traders in markets, and to restaurants and hotels

She says the effects of climate change, including drought and floods, have affected her crops. This year floods prevented her from planting bananas at the right time. The fruits she brings into Mogadishu this year do not look the same as they did in previous year. Also, the crop is less abundant making bananas more expensive.

Hirsia describes how inflation has affected the prices of SomFresh fruits and vegetables, especially bananas. She says that bananas have skyrocketed from $40 per quintal to $100.


She says some traders are no longer able to afford her produce, partly because customers cannot afford the prices which have increased from 1,000 to 3,000 Somali shillings a bunch. Hirsia’s business has been badly affected by this as she has fewer customers than before.

Many Somalis are now unable to afford to eat bananas as part of their main meal at lunch, something they used to do every day.



Bilan is Somalia’s first all-women media team. Funded by UNDP and hosted by Dalsan Media Group, Bilan shines a light on the issues women care about and offers a platform for women’s voices.

About Author


Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim

Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim is the Chief Editor of Bilan, Somalia’s first all-women media house, set up by UNDP and hosted by Dalsan Media Group in Mogadishu.