Yemen: Secondary data analysis on food security and vulnerability - Aug 2009

Originally published


Executive Summary


WFP in Yemen commissioned a Secondary Data Analysis (SDA) to consolidate information available from a variety of sources on food and nutrition security to provide an initial analysis that identifies areas where food insecurity indicators converge. The SDA identifies gaps in secondary information to be filled by primary data collection and makes recommendations as to how these gaps might be addressed. Results are to be used to provide guidance for WFP and partners in formulating the intervention strategy for the coming years.

Country Context

Yemen ranks 153rd on the Human Development Index (HDI). Food insecurity and malnutrition are major concerns, reflected by high rates of child malnutrition and maternal mortality being amongst the highest in the world. Despite some progress made, the country still faces multi-dimensional challenges for development. High population growth (>3%) negatively impacts any made improvements. Gender inequalities are persistently high, with Yemen ranking 121st on the Gender Development Index (GDI). Eighty percent of the population lives on 16% of the total area of the country, mainly in the highlands. Despite this concentration, more than two thirds live in rural areas, scattered among small and remote villages. Access to education, basic health services and other infrastructure is extremely constrained. While Yemen remains predominantly rural, rapid rates of urbanisation are driven by rural-urban migration, population growth and returning migrants.

In addition to the structural constraints, Yemen faces a complex crisis which affects food security and nutrition. Yemen not only relies heavily on food imports, but substantial increases in food prices over the past two years have significantly increased the number of Yemenis that are affected by food insecurity and poverty. Food availability is affected by volatility of international market prices - for oil that creates most of government's revenue, and for food that needs to be imported. These impacts are exacerbated by conflicts in several parts of the country, recurrent drought and flooding, influx of refugees, etc. The country is heading towards a severe water crisis, created by high rates of population growth and urbanization, increasing aridity through climate change, and agricultural and urban water needs. The water crisis places a disproportionate burden on the poor, with consequences for food production, water supply and incomes. Population movement due to increasingly scarce natural resources is creating social tensions.