SANAA, The war on Yemen and its agricultural sector, a paper on the historical development of the agricultural sector in Yemen and how it stands currently in the midst of the war. It is widely accepted that Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian and food security crisis in the world, but statement says that this food security crisis is not solely the result of the war, but also of the crippling of the agricultural sector since 1970.
Yemen was close to self-sufficiency in basic grains, which is a key component of the Yemeni diet. Despite the mountainous terrain and somewhat erratic rainfall in Yemen, farmers developed terracing and other traditional techniques to optimize the growth of these grains.
Starting in 1970, though, there was an influx of both public and private investment that served to irrigate coastal lands. This new irrigated land was conducive for producing crops such as fruits and vegetables, which were later sold in large cities and exported.
As a consequence of this increased emphasis on irrigated cash crops, grain production decreased by nearly 27 percent between 1970 and 1980 and has continued to decrease; Yemen now needs to import over 75 percent of grain products. In addition, farmers abandoned traditional farming techniques that were previously used to produce grain as well-drilling and diesel-powered well pumps became more widely available.
Another clear shift in agricultural production and policy occurred after the unification of Yemen in 1990. When Ali Abdullah Saleh became President of Yemen, he aligned his policies toward the expansion of Yemen's military capabilities and left the development of the agricultural sector to be taken care of by international agencies.
This created a lack of ownership by the Yemeni government over the agricultural sector in Yemen. Additionally, structural adjustment policies aimed at eliminating impoverishment contributed to increased prices for basic goods.
The Statement aptly states that the Yemeni case thus provides close to a perfect example of the effects of the international development complex on an agrarian economy that, in the northern part of the country, was close to self-sufficiency in basic grains until the 1970s. These policies, aimed at alleviating poverty and the lack of government investment in agriculture, remained constant until the start of the war in 2015.
Yemen is facing the world's largest food security crisis. Ongoing War, will enter its sixth year, has led to a severe economic decline and collapsed essential services, taking an enormous toll on the population and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. The expansion of the war has also led to large-scale displacement and high rates of malnutrition.
The agriculture sector is among the worst hit by the current crisis and local food production has been severely compromised. The absence of veterinary services, coupled with scarcity and the high cost of drugs and animal feed has contributed to poor production.
Agriculture must be an integral part of the Self-sufficiency to prevent Yemen's dire food security situation from worsening. Self-sufficiency in Yemen aim to save livelihoods and improve their food security and nutrition.
Since the start of the war that have big impacted the agricultural sector is the actions of the Saudi-led coalition, mainly their airstrikes targeting agricultural land. Agricultural land was targeted by coalition airstrikes 180 times between the period of March 2015 to August 2016, according to statement. By damaging farmlands, the coalition is attempting to cripple the Yemeni economy by limiting their opportunities to produce and export goods.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has also blockaded ports and prevented imports from getting in, further crippling the economy.
Source: Yemen News Agency