Sana’a University’s Agriculture Department Goes Green(er)

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The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MAI), inaugurated an agricultural demonstration site at Sana’a University’s Department of Agriculture that will expose faculty, students and Yemeni farmers to improved agricultural practices by showcasing green technologies.

Green technologies in use at the site include a greenhouse, which will grow strawberries, sunflowers, and cucumbers; a solar power system, which provides electricity for lighting and powers a temperature regulating fan in the greenhouse; a 24 cubic meter water tank and pump; and a drip irrigation system that is three times more efficient than traditional watering techniques.

Nearly 1,000 students study agriculture at Sana’a University and the new addition to their college campus will serve to educate future agriculturalists in modern and efficient farming techniques. USAID helped construct Sana’a University’s Department of Agriculture 25 years ago.

The Sana’a University demonstration site is the third of its kind in Sana’a. USAID recently completed a similar demonstration site in Sawan, and already that site has yielded nine times the amount of cucumbers that could be grown on a traditional farm.

This initiative is part the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and MAI’s efforts to increase agricultural productivity in Yemen and address the problem of water scarcity at the same time.

“A fully-functioning agricultural sector is key to improving the country’s economic well-being,” Elizabeth Richard, Charge de Affairs at the U.S. Embassy during the March 3rd inauguration of the demonstration site. “Lagging productivity, combined with increasingly critical water shortages creates a great economic challenge for Yemen. To begin to take on that challenge, Yemen’s agricultural sector needs to adapt 21st century technologies to improve efficiency and raise productivity. The U.S. government is pleased to assist in this effort.”

To promote the technologies, USAID and the MAI have held and continue to hold workshops on green technology as well as “Farmer’s Field Days” during which farmers at the demonstration sites teach other farmers about solar power, greenhouse technology, and drip irrigation.