Qat disease needs to end [Archives:2004/761/Letters to the Editor]

August 5 2004

A. Mohamed
[email protected]

I originate from a district in Yemen renown for its Qat, as there are no other sources of income there. Our authorities cannot continue to ignore the huge escalation in the planting of Qat. Yes! I agree that this plant is the livelihood of hundred's of thousands of people. I believe that there has to be alternatives offered to people before the Government can even think about putting plans into place to solve the problem. But there needs to be a starting point, Qat farmers need to be engaged in reform, through education, workshops, and media.
Other options need to be highlighted positively and maybe subsidized to enable change to commence. The negative aspects of Qat clearly outweigh the positive aspects, in terms of health issues, poverty, the disregard for priceless water resources and diverting the younger generation from basic education. Sweeping this issue under the carpet will not solve the problem. The whole nation is a victim of this semi-narcotic plant that causes misery and disruption to people of all walks of life in all corners of the Yemen.