Yemen Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Faris Ahmed Mujawar, warned on Wednesday, at the 36th opening session of the Council of Governors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD - against the knock on effects negative economic factors would have on food supplies and prices in developing nations.
Funded in 1977 IFAD aims to finance agricultural development projects with a focus on food production in developing countries. IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Minister Mujawar insisted that Yemen was in dire needs of funds and targeted agricultural development program as over 40% of its population had been categorized by World Food Program - WFP - as food insecure.
In its report, WFP established over five million people, - 22% of the population - are severely food insecure and unable to produce or buy the food they need. This represents an 87% increase from the last CFSS conducted in 2009, and well above the threshold at which external food assistance is normally required. At the same time, an additional five million people were found to be moderately food insecure and at risk of becoming severely food insecure in the face of rising food and fuel prices and conflict. This brings the total food insecure to around 10 million people in Yemen - 44.5% of the population - who had limited or no access to sufficient, nutritious food, and were eating a poor or borderline diet according to agreed international standards.
This is a marked increase – of more than 40 percent – over the figure of the 2009 CFSS. There are sharp differences
between rural and urban areas, between governorates, and between agro-zones. Just over half the rural population - 51% - was food-insecure compared to 27% in urban areas. There are nearly four times as many severely food-insecure people living in rural areas than in urban places, a marked increase both in absolute and proportional terms over the 2009 figures.
While Yemen possesses more agricultural land surface than its neighbors, only a small percentage is actually put to good use. According to the World Bank, 2.2% of Yemen is classified under arable land.
Moreover, because the government has failed so far to establish a clear agricultural policy, focused on self-sufficiency, the country had had to import 90% of its food needs, leaving its population vulnerable to prices fluctuation and food shortages.
Minister Mujawar said he is trying to turn the side but needs more funds.