Yemen – War, withdrawal of government subsidies devastate agriculture
Location: Lahij, Yemen
Source: A24 Aden
Restriction: A24 subscribers
Farmland in Lahij, one of the most important agricultural governorates in southern Yemen, has declined significantly in comparison with years before the outbreak of the war in 2015.
According to statistics issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018, the area of arable land in the governorate had amounted to 26,390 hectares with about 55,570 farmers.
Now the Al-Hussaini farms in Lahj, which were known for their cultivation of bananas, fruits, and vegetables have turned into barren areas.
Farmers told A24 that the underlying causes of land degradation were war induced population flight , high diesel prices for running irrigation systems, and the government removing all subsidies for farmers.
Soundbite (Saleh Jamal – farmer):
“If the Ministry of Agriculture continues to provide subsidies as before, and controls the water of the wells (because the wells need diesel to run), conditions can be improved, the farms revive, the wells go back to what they were before, and we will be able to plant bananas and olives again. It all depends on the Ministry of Agriculture. This is an additional burden on the farms, in addition to purchasing diesel and seeds and plowing, for which the Ministry stopped providing subsidies after the war. “
Soundbite (Mohamed Al-Hamid – farm owner):
“We used to export bananas to all governorates of Yemen. After the war, it was all over. We couldn’t fix or renew anything. Prices of diesel used for the well machine increased. The same amount we used to buy for 2000 Yemeni riyals now costs 25,000.”
Soundbite (Hassan Ahmed – farmer):
“It (Lahij governorate) was famous for its bananas and vegetables, but with the outbreak of the Houthi war, trees withered and people sold their lands and left their professions. The reason is that diesel is expensive and farmers cannot afford it.”