Qat, water, and agricultural development

Yemen national food security strategy

Water resources are rapidly dwindling in Yemen, and Sana’a might be the first capital city in the world to go dry. Groundwater levels in many regions are falling rapidly and many households lack sufficient water for drinking, washing, and cooking. At the same time, the population continues to grow, and economically promising industry and service sectors are bound to demand a larger share of the water supply in the future. Already, the lack of water constrains agricultural growth and is likely to increasingly limit Yemen’s food production. According to some estimates, agriculture’s dominant share of the water supply will fall from more than 90 percent to 60 percent during the next few years, making a sharp cutback in agricultural water use inevitable. Taxing qat, a drug crop that uses a significant portion of the water supply while making little contribution to food security, can contribute to a significant reduction of agriculture’s water use.

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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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