Government support for the poor rural communities [Archives:2005/887/Business & Economy]

October 20 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The poor rural communities in Yemen are in actual need of the government support in order to develop and evolve the agricultural system of terraces and also to rebuild the valleys that have been exposed to deterioration after a long time. The Yemenis have stood up to the challenge of nature as they conquered he lofty mountains by building agricultural terraces to be an important source for their food security.

In order to preserve this civilization heritage and the agricultural activity as well as to preserve environment, great efforts have to be exerted to protect those terraces against deterioration and collapse. The most important in the required support is the breathing life into the activity of caring for forests, guidance, expansion in tree plantation, maintaining terraces against destruction, managing pastures and combating desertification through implementation of many developmental projects.

What distinguishes Yemen's agricultural civilization are the irrigation systems based on dams and irrigation canals. Yemen is suffering from scarcity of rainfall levels in general and exhaustion of subterranean waters that gathered for thousands of years, as well as the acute drop in levels of underground waters, as a result of expansion in agriculture and population growth. For all the above reasons efforts with regard to irrigation and water installations, were focused on implementation and building of water dams, barriers and cisterns. In this regard, 380 water dams, barriers and storages had been built during the recent years in various governorates of the republic. Among the most important of such installations are:

– The dam of Mareb with storage capacity of 400 million cubic meters and provides irrigation water to irrigate an area of almost 10000 hectares in addition to feeding water to subterranean basins.

– Barqouqa dam in Tihama valley-Tihama

– Continued operation and maintaining water installations in the valleys of Zabid, Rama'a, Mour, Tabn, and Abyan.

– Operation of irrigation installations in Siham valley.

– Completion of irrigation installations in Hagar valley

– Implementation of several works of protection against damage of torrents in many villages and valleys in various governorates.

The challenge facing the population is in providing their need of food and guarantee of their food security which requires improvement the productivity of natural resources in high areas of production and those on the margin simultaneously. There must be an attention given to providing food in all regions where the relation emerges between the spread of poverty among the population and fluctuation in production in this year and the other. Therefore, the government programs should give priority to work with the rural communities that are poorer and that usually do not possess but a small amount of resources to build their capabilities, also to the areas exposed to dangers and disasters and the remote areas that lack the basic structure and social services.

An all out glance, and given official sources, there can be a demonstration of the extent of the agricultural sector participation in the area of achieving food security in Yemen through projecting percentages of production to needs of the population for the following different commodities.

– 100% in consumption of maze.

– 7% in consumption of wheat.

– 100% in consumption of pearl millet.

– 42% I consumption of barely.

– 100% in consumption of vegetables.

– 98% in consumption of fruits.

– 99% in consumption white meats.

– 67% in consumption of red meats.

Generally, the local production covers around two thirds of the Yemeni economy needs of food as there are major commodities that are not grown locally and therefore all Yemen's needs of them are imported, such as rice and sugar.