Yemen – Urbanization threatens camel breeding in Aden
Camel breeding has been one of the most significant traditional professions for decades and a cultural heritage that characterizes the desert and countryside of Yemen.
However, nowadays this profession is facing the threat of extinction as a result of the eight-year civil war and urbanization.
The scarce studies have varied on the percentage of urban sprawl on agricultural land and has been estimated at an annual average of 3.7%, meaning that over the next three decades, the entire agricultural area will disappear.
Studies indicate that with the increase in population density and the absence of urban planning in most Yemeni cities, people are turning to building facilities in the non-mountainous plains because they are suitable for agriculture and close to public services.
The continuous migration from the countryside to cities, the decline in the ratio of workers in the agricultural sector, and the absence of awareness, the educational role and regulatory and security oversight are all factors that contributed to the decline of camel herding and agriculture, according to urban planners.
As agricultural production declines, the country will lose many cash crops and will depend on imports to fill the food gap, threatening food security and self-sufficiency.
Urban sprawl also adversely affects livestock and poultry, especially those of local breeds, beekeeping, all agricultural activities, manufacturing industries, and workers in the agricultural and animal sector.
- Soundbite (Muhammad Fadel – camels’ herder):
“Before there were wide pastures for camels to graze but now we have to buy their food. There were also open deserts where camels could go and come back without any problem but now these places have many streets for cars. A camel might walk in the traffic lane and hit cars. So we keep them inside the barn, surrounded by a wall, all day long and bear the cost of providing their food.”
- Soundbite (Yassin Muthanna – specialist in animal and agricultural affairs)
“Camel herders suffer from the deterioration of pastures due to war and urban expansion, which forces herders to graze their camels inside barns. With the increase in food expenses, many herders abandon the profession.”