Reducing Poverty and Hunger in Yemen

February 25, 2010

Dialogue with Clemens Breisinger, Research Fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division:

Why is IFPRI now focusing on Yemen?

Yemen has been hard hit by the recent global food crisis and ongoing global recession due to its high dependency on oil exports and food imports. Recent IFPRI research shows an eight percent increase since 2006 in the number of people living in poverty. In a forthcoming publication, IFPRI reports that 32 percent of the people lack access to sufficient food, and nearly 58 percent of all children are malnourished. IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index ranks Yemen 74th out of 85 developing countries. This alarming situation is complicated by severe domestic challenges that affect food security, including a lack of job-creating growth within the oil-dependent economic structure, a distorted economic incentive system coupled with an inefficient social transfer system, rapidly depleting oil and water resources, and the growing production and consumption of qat (a leafy plant consumed as a stimulant and appetite suppressant, whose production uses 40 percent of all available water resources).

How is IFPRI involved in helping reduce poverty and hunger in Yemen?

The Government of Yemen under the leadership of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) asked IFPRI to help develop a National Food Security Strategy. IFPRI uses an innovative analytical framework, which allows for the integrated analysis of a wide range of issues including macroeconomics, trade, infrastructure, agricultural productivity, water management, public health, and social protection. The development of the strategy is jointly conducted with a Food Security Committee composed of several ministries and civil society organizations under MOPIC. The development of the strategy is supported by Yemen’s international development partners, including the European CommissionGTZ, the World Food Program, and the World Bank.

Does IFPRI engage in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa?

Yemen is the poorest and most food insecure country in the region, yet many other countries in the region also face severe food security challenges. IFPRI has thus developed a strategy on how to scale up its activities in the region. IFPRI’s research activities will focus on guiding globalization, trade and market policies, water and natural resource management, strategies and governance for pro-poor development, and social protection. IFPRI will strive to enhance dialogue, partnerships, and networks between individuals and institutions.