GIEWS Country Brief: Yemen 27-April-2011

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Reference Date: 27-April-2011


  • Record cereal production in 2010

  • Civil unrest restricts humanitarian aid delivery

Planting of 2011 crops starts under normal weather conditions

Land is being prepared for 2011 sorghum, maize and millet crops, due for harvest from September, while sowing of 2011 wheat, barley and pulses crops is underway under generally normal weather conditions.

Bumper crop gathered in 2010

Reflecting favourable rainfall, above-average plantings and adequate availability of agricultural inputs and irrigation, aggregate production of cereals in 2010 is estimated at a record level of about one million tonnes, more than 40 percent higher than the last five years average. Output from the sorghum crop, the main cereal crop grown in the country, increased by some 200 000 tonnes to 507 000 tonnes, which is sharply higher than the average for the previous five years. Wheat production reached a record level of 265 000 tonnes, 19 percent more than 2009, while millet crop increased by 49 000 tonnes to 111 000 tonnes.

Import requirements of wheat and wheat flour in 2010/11 (Jan/Dec) marketing year, are currently estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, about 10 percent below previous year. Rice and maize imports are estimated almost equally at some 360 000 tonnes.

Civil unrest hampers aid distribution

The security situation remains volatile throughout the country. The civil unrest that swept the country in the last several months is a serious concern to the food security situation of the population, especially the poor and the vulnerable ones. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the price of wheat flour has almost doubled in the last month and while food shortages are not an immediate danger, aid agencies worry fewer people will be able to afford their basic food.

The situation in northern Governorates of Sa’ada and Al-Jawf, where the risks for humanitarian workers are high, is particularly worrisome. The delivery of food and non food humanitarian aid has in fact often been suspended during last months, with negative consequences especially for most vulnerable households.

Overall, in Yemen, about 7.2 million people (over 32 percent of households) are estimated to be food insecure of which about 2.7 million people are in a severe food insecurity situation. Highest rates of food insecure households are in Governorates of Hajja, Ibb and Al-Dhala, while countrywide rural areas have double the share of food insecure people if compared to urban areas. These numbers have likely increased during the last months due to high food prices and the renewed unrest in some parts of the country.

Since the ceasefire on February 2010, the return rate of IDPs to their villages has been quite slow due to a wide range of obstacles, including mines and unexploded devices, destruction of housing and infrastructures, lack of basic services and minimal employment opportunities. Currently, it is estimated that about 250 000 IDPs are still in camps and, together with some 170 000 refugees, predominantly Somalis, are in need of food assistance.