Unchecked and un-monitored, there is a steady flow of goods, mostly milk, fruits, and other edibles appearing in Somaliland consumer markets.
The dairy and farm products come in canned, packed or bottled. As are other goods from other markets, they go up in shelves and refrigerators where customers pick them up and cart them away in carrier bags.
Not surprisingly, the rise in the import of Egyptian farm produce closely follows behind accusations of various types of illnesses, some ‘serious’, that had been linked directly to Egyptian farm products.
In mid-March, the Ministry of Industries of Sudan concurred earlier decisions of other ministries such as the Ministry of trade/Commerce which banned the import of goods from Egypt.
In his letter to his counterpart in Trade, Minister Muhammad Yussuf Ali of Industries, cited that the farm products have caused the rise of a ‘number of serious, life-threatening medical conditions’ on citizens’.
The minister concurs the ban after ascertaining that ‘the products have been contaminated with substances that were found to be very harmful to the health of citizens’.
The letter goes on to point out that not only the goods were found to contain such substances but that the form produce was irrigated with water that was found to be seriously contaminated containing toxic substances as it was nurtured with substances that contained toxic matter.
The question is: Is Somaliland aware of the situation?
The answer, of course, is ‘NO!’.
This answer, perhaps, explains why cancer and cancer-related illnesses are on the rise in Somaliland. This, again, may shed light on why Somaliland citizens are developing bizarre, clinically inexplicable maladies that attack the joints or the respiratory and digestive systems. The absence of government awareness of the serious medical threat may be the cause of so many rheumatic-like illnesses slowly crippling so many citizens.
The situation calls for an immediate, comprehensive investigation by the Ministries of Health, Trading, industry, Agriculture and International Cooperation. with the help of international, more qualified partners such as the WHO. Countries in Europe have accused Egypt of releasing contaminated goods into markets for hard currency gains as early as 2015.
Egypt, of course, lamely denied the charges then as it does now.
A video and a script explaining what happened at the time follows:
Egypt on Wednesday (29 July 2015) criticised the EU’s decision to ban the import of certain seeds and beans from the country, after fenugreek from an Egyptian supplier was linked to the E.coli outbreaks in Germany and France which claimed 49 lives.
All fenugreek seed imported from one particular Egyptian company since 2009 would be destroyed, EU officials said on Tuesday, and imports of seeds and beans for sprouting would be frozen until 31 October.
But Doctor Alia Mohamed, of Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture, said that it was wrong to blame Egypt.
“This disease appeared in sixteen countries in Europe, and it is not proven that all those sixteen countries ate the Egyptian seeds. So accusing Egyptian seeds is a wrongful accusation,” he said.
Mohamed called the EU’s decision “a big loss for Egypt and it is a loss of morale even more than it is a material loss.”
He said Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture had begun work on a guidance programme to avoid such a situation arising again.
“They are working on steps that have to be taken by every farm and every screening station to avoid contamination like this. The Ministry of Health is making periodic reviews of places of production,” he said.
The European Food Safety Authority confirmed in a report that one lot of contaminated fenugreek seeds from Egypt was probably the source of the recent food poisoning outbreaks in Germany and France.
But the number of European countries that received parts of the suspected lot is much larger than previously known, and includes Austria, Britain and Spain, it said.
The European Union said in a statement on Tuesday it was banning the import of Egyptian fenugreek seeds until October 31, adding that its members must destroy all seeds from “one Egyptian exporter” received between 2009 and 2011.
Officials have not released the name of the exporter.
Fenugreek seeds from the suspect Egyptian lot – about 15-thousand kilograms (33-thousand pounds) – were imported to one large German distributor, the agency said.
Those seeds were then sold to 70 different companies, 54 of them in Germany, the centre of the outbreak, and to 16 companies in 11 other European countries.
Last year, Europe imported about 49-thousand tons of fenugreek seeds from Egypt, worth more than 81 (m) million US dollars.