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Improving Long-term food security and resilience through terrace rehabilitation

a man wearing a head scarf

Saeed, 45 years old, works as a farmer

Saeed, 45 years old, works as a farmer

An estimated 54% of the population of Yemen requires humanitarian food and livelihoods assistance. Groups who are at risk – mainly internally displaced people, vulnerable communities, female-headed households, people with disabilities, daily laborers, elderly people, and women – face the most severe forms of food insecurity. Food security is one of the most serious problems in Yemen; 21.8 % of households are currently facing food insecurity, and approximately 80 % of staple cereals are imported.

Saeed, 45 years old, is a father of eight children. He is a farmer from Ibb governorate, working on daily wages. Daily wages workers are forced to borrow money or sell some stuff to provide necessities to their families. “Sometimes I find work and sometimes I don’t. I have had to borrow money or sell some of my hard-earned assets to provide food for my family,” says Saeed. “It’s hard to see my kids starving and I can’t do anything about it.” Many families in Yemen’s rural areas don’t know where their next meal will come from, and parents usually skip meals so that their children can eat.

Agriculture has long played a dominant role in Yemen’s agricultural economy, constituting 10 percent of GDP, sustaining economic and social stability, and reducing hunger in urban and rural communities alike.

A man carrying a stone
Saeed fixing the damage on his farm that was caused by rainstorms

Saeed lives in an old and muddy house in Almazarqah sub-district of Hazm Al Udayn district, one of the poorest places in Ibb governorate. People there are severely hit by extreme poverty, many on the brink of famine. Poverty is further exacerbated by a lack of basic resources, such as water, healthcare and education. Rural areas are physically, intellectually, economically and socially isolated due to a lack of paved roads and basic services.   “Most of the villagers are illiterate,” says Saeed. “The only existing school has no teachers. Due to illiteracy, poverty is even more widespread in our village. And of course, there are fewer opportunities for illiterate people to get suitable jobs.”

For ages, people depended on agriculture, but due to floods caused by unseasonal rainstorms that hit the area recently, most of the agricultural terraces were damaged. The ensuing floods buried farms in muddy silt, leaving people without resources and life essentials. “People depend mainly on their farms in my village. I and other residents used to farm on our lands and plant grains. Now, our farms have perished and we can no longer farm,” says Saeed.

CARE intervened in Ibb governorate with a Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) project to address immediate food needs through cash for work. The project promotes the construction and rehabilitation of key community assets and improves food security and resilience. With the project in place, the people of Alsalfaeeah rehabilitated the farms and agricultural terraces in their village. “We can now work on our lands,” Saeed says. “I plant grains which help me to put some food, such as bread, on the table for my family.  People can now sell some grains which help them to buy the daily necessities for their families like food, medicine, and other essentials. I bought four sheep and I can now get milk, ghee and meat.”

A man working in a field
Saeed reaping the crops of his farm
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