Qat: 22 million working hours wasted every day [Archives:2004/785/Local News]

October 28 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor announced that it is preparing for a national conference on qat and its environmental, economical and health effects.
Location of the conference is still to be announced.
Statistics show that qat chewers in Yemen are 6 million and the average of chewers is expected to increase to in a few coming years. The average now is 80- 85 per cent among men and more than 30 per cent among women.
The daily expenditure paid by students and officials on qat is YR 300 – YR 800 per person and it is YR 1,000 – YR 4,000 among the middle and rich classes. This number exceeds the expenses on the daily food and commodities among the class of students and officials.
The statistics of the ministry of agriculture point out that the lands having been used in planting qat in 1990s was 77.7 per cent of the agricultural lands, reaching a 7.8 per cent annual growing average. This rate is slightly more than that of the average population growth, which is 3.7 per cent. The lands that are for planting all kinds of fruits equal only a third of the lands of qat.
The average of what is bought of qat by the Yemeni person is YR 300 – 800 for about 6 million citizens making the daily expenditure of selling qat is between YR 1.8 – 4.8 billion ($10 million – $26.5 million per day)
The wasted time, that's spent in chewing qat, can be estimated as 22 million daily working hours and 8.5 billion annual working hours.