In Yemen: Expansion of agricultural land area,Rains enliven hopes for overcoming water crisis, building more dams [Archives:2003/660/Business & Economy]

August 18 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The proportion of waters in Marib Dam has risen to 165 million cubic meters during the early days of rains that fell on Yemen recently with an increase of 15 million cubic meters. This has revived and renewed the hopes in the country's surmounting of the water crisis along with the state's project of building 513 water dams and barriers in various governorates with an estimated cost of more than YR 9 billion.
There are some important water dams around the capital Sana'a and they help feed water to water basins and increase reclamation of agricultural lands and raising livestock.
The competent authorities are now implementing 188 water installations costing more than YR 6 billion in addition to building modern irrigation networks and systems over an area of land estimated at 17 thousand hectares. Official figures mention that outcomes of Yemen's attention paid to the water sector have been the increase of agricultural lands to 102 million hectares in 2002, the share of agricultural land area planted with major crops was 102 hectares. That area's production of sesame had increased from 80133 tons in 1990 to 200152 tons in 2002 and cotton production doubled from 130036 tons to 300472 tons, coffee from 60807 tons to 115906 tons during the same period. Also the proportion of production of the area planted with fruits had risen to approximately double. It had recorded an increase in production from31601 thousand tons to 70001 thousand tons, vegetables from 696 thousand tons to 80207 thousand tons. Cereals production increased from 990913 tons of wheat in 1990 to 1.430577 tons in 2002 maze from 2720886 tons to 3380287 and barley from 280912 tons to 410379 tons during the same period.
Production of beans increased from 430566 to 630042 tons in the same period. Parallel to that development the government has built three markets for selling vegetables and fruits in Marib, Hadramout and Sa'da and a center for development of exports in Hodeidah. Work is underway for building a project for increasing production and development efficiency of using water and reclamation of arable lands, including the implementation of a project for environment protection, the cost of which is $11million. In addition there is the project of forestation of 266 farms of an area of 2540 hectares.
Besides, the development of agricultural production and taking interest in waters, the government has paid attention to animal wealth for achieving integration in securing food. The number of cattle in general increased from 8.178.000 million heads in 1990 to 11.443.096 million heads in 2002.
Thus the heavy rainy season in Yemen during the past few days came to help secure food and surmounting the problem of waters and feeding subterranean water basins and the increase of the country's water reservoir.