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Tackling poverty and hunger through supporting sustainable agriculture livelihoods

A man standing in a field of tall grass/plants

Mohsen, 80, stands in his farmlands in Alwadi district. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

Mohsen, 80, stands in his farmlands in Alwadi district. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

Entering its eighth year, the armed conflict in Yemen continues to exacerbate levels of poverty and food insecurity across the country. Over 80 percent of Yemenis live below the poverty line. According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) analysis, 23.4 million people in Yemen are estimated to require humanitarian assistance.

An estimated 17.4 million people in Yemen (54 percent of the total population) are projected to experience food insecurity in 2022. More than eight million people in Yemen need lifesaving curative and preventive nutrition assistance. Women and children face the most severe forms of food insecurity, with 1.3 million pregnant and nursing mothers and 2.2 million children under the age of five requiring treatment for acute malnutrition.

Conflict is the primary driver of the dire food insecurity situation in Yemen, causing widespread damage to infrastructure, as well as triggering internal displacement, affecting agricultural production, imposing movement constraints, and disrupting livelihoods. An extraordinary breakdown of public services like healthcare, education, water, and sanitation has further worsened living conditions for the Yemeni people.

A man sitting in a field with green plants
Abdulkareem, 25, a farmer from Alwadi district in Marib governorate. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

Abdulkareem, 25 years old, lives with his family in Alwadi district of Marib governorate. Abdulkareem has four brothers and eight sisters; some of whom are married and have children. For decades, Abdulkareem’ s family depended on farming as their main source of income where his 80 years old father Mohsen owned many farmlands.

Alwadi district is known for its arable lands. The majority of its residents work in farming. Yet the conflict, together with the ensuing economic recession, has limited their access to seeds and cultivation supplies, forcing them to abandon their farms. “This war stole our most precious things; our calm life, relatives, and livelihoods,” says Mohsen sadly. “We are so overwhelmed and have had enough of suffering.”

Two men wearing white outfit standing on a well with water coming out of the well
Mohsen and Abdulkareem water their crops. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

“I’ve been working in farming for my whole life,” says Abdulkareem. “It’s a job that I inherited from my ancestors. In the past, we used to grow different crops of vegetables and grains and sell them in cities. Recently, my father was taken ill with a critical medical condition, and we had to sell most of our farmlands to pay for his treatment. We couldn’t even cultivate our remaining land because of the fighting and a lack of seeds and fuel,” he adds.

Two men wearing a face mask and one looking through his phone with a red bad between them
A farmer receives a package of improved seeds. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

Yemen faces drops in agricultural productivity, resulting in heightened food insecurity and malnutrition, which will have long-lasting and irreversible effects on the development process and future generations.  Most Yemeni farmers cannot access the agricultural inputs they need to successfully cultivate. Price inflations and fuel shortages hinder farmers’ access to much-needed services such as irrigation, transportation, and electricity. Access to quality seeds, supply chains, and markets have been further disturbed by instability and movement constraints.

CARE works to enhance agriculture-based livelihoods in Marib’s Alwadi district through provision of improved seeds. Fortunately for Abdulkareem, he was one of 600 farmers who received a package of the maize, pepper, arugula, okra and tomato seeds to boost both their crops and incomes.

A man in a brown shirt and cap touching a plant
CARE’s extension agents check the quality of the crops. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

“I’m so eager to reap the benefits of the improved seeds and the consultations that CARE’s  agricultural extension agents provided for us,” says Abdulkareem enthusiastically. “Cultivating our land using the knowledge we gained and the improved seeds will increase the crops we produce so we can consume some and sell the rest to generate income. I plan to save some of our income to rehabilitate our house and to marry.”

My father and I agreed to store the seeds of the current harvest and use them again in the upcoming seasons,” says Abdulkareem. “I hope that CARE continues to support farmers and to provide them with fertilizers that will improve the quality of our crops,” he concludes.

A man in a field picking tomatoes
Abdulkareem is eager to reap his tomato crop and sell it in the market. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE
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