GIEWS Country Brief: Yemen 10-June-2020


  • Conflict continues to threaten agricultural livelihoods
  • Well below-average cereal harvest forecast for 2020, stable cereal import requirements
  • About 24.3 million people estimated in need of humanitarian assistance

Conflict continue to threaten agricultural livelihoods

Due to a variety of natural conditions, the calendar of agricultural activities differs depending on location. In Central Highlands, with two distinct rainy seasons, the 2020 first season wheat crop was harvested in April. The second rainy season should start in July and wheat sowing, for harvest from September, is about to start.
Planting of rainfed sorghum, for harvest from mid-September, will start in mid-June. In Southern Uplands, with only one rainy season, planting of the 2020 wheat crop, for harvest from mid-October, will start in early June and will continue until mid-July. In the coastal areas, sorghum was planted in May and harvesting should start in September.
Despite attempts to negotiate ceasefire, persistent fighting continues to seriously compromise all economic activities, including agriculture. Agricultural inputs, mostly imported, remain in short supply and expensive. High fuel prices, albeit lower than one year ago reflecting the slowdown in the global economy, are constraining agricultural activities, particularly those related to irrigated crops. To cope with the elevated production costs, farmers have shifted from irrigated to rainfed crops, which yield lower output, and relay more on family labour instead of employing hired workers.

Torrential rains in mid-April 2020 caused floods in the north of the country, particularly in the Marib and Sana’a governorates. In the third decade of April, intense rains caused floods also in the southern part of the country (Hadramamaur, Shabwah, Aden, Lahj, Al Dhale and Taiz governorates) which were already affected by floods at the end of March. The cities of Sana’a and Aden were exceptionally hard hit by April floods and the lack of adequate drainage system and rainwater management led to a disruption of basic services. Floods coincided with the harvesting of wheat in Central Highlands and planting of sorghum in Southern Uplands and Central Highlands. Planting activities were delayed, while standing crops still to be harvested were damaged. Damages on agricultural infrastructure and livestock were also reported.

Abundant precipitation enabled breeding of desert locusts, particularly in the interior. Here, hopper bands and mature swarms have formed in May, some of which could migrate to northern Somalia and northeast Ethiopia. The country’s capacity to survey and control pests is minimal due to lack of equipment.

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