Yemen Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture, under fairly normal circumstances, when Yemen is not ravaged by full war, has been estimated to employ over half the population, even though it accounts for less than one sixth of GDP. Less than three percent of the country’s area is cultivable, while just under a third is grazing land.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Yemen. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Difficulties in supply existed before, but as a result of the civil war they have become enormous. Millions of Yemenis today suffer from acute food shortages, in many places pure starvation, and can only survive thanks to international aid broadcasts (see Calendar).

This happens despite the fact that some parts of the country are fertile. The most fertile soils are found in the north and west, both in the highlands and on the coastal plain of Tihama.

The farming methods are traditional and the mechanization is low. Farmers use draft animals and the ancient mill to terrace slopes is labor-intensive. Agriculture is periodically hit hard by both drought and flooding. Problems with soil erosion increase the difficulty. As a result of the war, cultivable land is now entirely for the feet.

An example of how agriculture was eliminated is the cultivation of pomegranates in the Saada province in the northwest. From there it was possible to export pomegranates before the war escalated in 2015. Even Yemen’s beekeepers, who usually supply markets around the Persian Gulf with prized honey, have great difficulties in keeping production up. For Yemen defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.

Coffee was once the crop that opened the door to world trade for Yemenites; it was from there the coffee was fetched at the time the coffee reached Europe. Later, coffee crops in Africa and Latin America have taken over the role of export center. They are often more accessible than the hardworking terraces on Yemen’s slopes.

However, coffee still belongs to the crops found in the north, along with millet, dates, corn, wheat, fruit and tobacco. In the south, cotton, wheat, millet, watermelons, bananas and potatoes are mainly grown. However, even before the war of 2000, Yemen was forced to import food. More than three quarters of the most important food crop, wheat, was purchased from abroad.

Artificial irrigation has created severe stress for the water supply. In the early 2000s, agriculture accounted for 90 percent of water consumption.

A specific problem for Yemen is that nearly half of the irrigation resources and a tenth of the agricultural area were used for cultivating qat (khat), a water-consuming shrub whose leaves have a mild stimulating effect but lack nutritional value. According to a 2006 World Bank study, more than two-thirds of the men in Yemen qat and one-third of women chewed. Qat has therefore for years been the most income-producing crop in the country. Many Yemenis make up a large part of their monthly income on qat, while the authorities at most have made half-hearted efforts towards the abuse problems. Qat suppresses hunger, and malnutrition was widespread even before the screaming food shortages that occurred during the war, especially since 2015.

Livestock breeding is important in many places and the country has in the past been largely self-sufficient in meat and dairy products.

The waters off Yemen’s coast are rich in fish. Mostly, sardines, anchovies, tuna, lobster and shrimp are caught, mainly in the traditional way from small boats. It has happened that Yemeni fishermen have become trapped between Somali pirates and international military vessels chasing the pirates. Several fishermen have been killed in such incidents.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

4.0 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

44.6 percent (2016)



High death rates among civilians

December 28

UN coordinator Jamie McGoldrick states that 68 Yemeni civilians have been killed in two raids by Saudi aircraft two days earlier. One of the attacks targeted a well-visited market in Taizz and claimed 54 lives. At the second raid on a site in Hudayda, 14 members of one family were killed. During the ten days before the attacks, more than 40 civilians have joined in combat operations, according to the UN source. The air raids were then extended yet another robot was fired from Yemen against Saudi Arabia on December 19.

One million cases, but cholera declines

December 21

The cholera epidemic has subsided since the spread was greatest this summer, but a total of one million suspected cases of illness have been registered, according to the International Red Cross Committee. At least 2 | 226 deaths have been known since the April outbreak.

Robot against royal palace

December 19

A robot fired from Yemen is shot down by Saudi air defense near Riyadh. The Huthirebells themselves state that the target this time was King Salman’s residence. At the same time, the UN announces that at least 136 civilians have been killed in Saudi-led strikes against Yemen within ten days.

USA: Iranian rebel weapons

December 14

United States Ambassador Nikki Haley presents robotic remains as evidence that rebels in Yemen have received weapons from Iran, not least the robot fired against Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on November 4. UN expertise has previously estimated that the robots may be of Iranian origin. Tehran rejects the allegations.

Intensive attacks against rebels

December 10

After the death of President Saleh, the Huthirebels have strengthened their grip on the capital Sanaa. At the same time, it is reported that the attacks against them have intensified from the Saudi-led alliance of neighboring countries that support Yemen’s internationally recognized government. When one of the huthiers’ training camp northwest of Sanaa is attacked, at least 26 rebel soldiers die.

Robot systems are questioned

December 4th

The Yemeni rebels who fired a ballistic robot at Riyadh in early November may have been more successful than Saudi Arabia has claimed: The Patriot robots used by Saudi air defense to ward off the attack may have missed their target. Analysts from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, who have reviewed photo material, say that the rift that was subsequently displayed by Saudi authorities was hardly the Scudrobot’s warhead.

Saleh killed in flight

December 4th

Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is killed in the fighting between his supporters and their former gun brothers, the Huthis. Saleh and his companion must have been assaulted on a road south of Sanaa during an escape from the city. Saleh began, some time before his death, to show a tendency to negotiate with the Yemeni government, supported by Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries, prompting the Houthis to speak of a conspiracy. The last week’s mutual fighting between the two camps on the rebel side has claimed at least 125 lives, according to Red Cross sources.


The rebel side is fighting each other

November 29th

The alliance between Hire Hire Believers and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is faltering. They control the capital of Sanaa, but clashes between their forces erupt, including gunfire near the city’s largest mosque for the celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday the day after, when a huthi-declared manifestation is to be held. Over the course of a few days, 25 deaths are reported away.

Warfare reported to ICC

November 27th

The Arab Human Rights Organization, based in the United Kingdom, calls for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the United Arab Emirates’ warfare in Yemen. The Emirate, which participates in the Saudi-led alliance against Yemen’s Shia rebels, is charged with warfare against civilians, banned weapons and the use of torture soldiers.

Load vaccines when Sanaa

November 25

The first aircraft with emergency aid, including vaccines, land in Sanaa after the Saudi-led blockade against the rebels has been eased. The next day, a ship with food can add to Salif on the Red Sea, north of al-Hudayda. The UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​estimates that more than eleven million Yemeni children need emergency care.

The blockade is alleviated for relief

November 22

Saudi Arabia and its allies promise to ease the blockade against Sanaa Airport and the port of al-Hudayda on the Red Sea so that aid broadcasts are released. The UN and aid organizations have appealed on the grounds that Yemenis are suffering from severe food shortages and are at risk of being infected with cholera. A hospital in al-Hudayda is now also reporting several deaths in diphtheria.

Long queues for gasoline

November 7

The news of the blockade has fuel prices and household gas prices rising, and Sanaa has been subjected to at least nine air strikes in three days. The Huthi rebels now threaten to attack ports and airports in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which they see as legitimate targets. Human Rights Watch criticizes the Huthi for the robot that was fired at Riyadh and notes that the incident could very well be considered a war crime.

Blocked against Yemen tightened

November 6

Saudi Arabia and its allies tighten their blockade against Yemen at sea, on land and in the air following the robbery against Riyadh. The measures are justified by preventing arms transports from Iran to the Huthi. But they mean that aid broadcasts against cholera and food shortages are even more difficult to reach Yemenis, and the UN and MSF are protesting.

Robot against capital

November 4th

Rebels in Yemen launch a ballistic robot against Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, about 120 miles away. It is shot down near the city and debris takes land within the area of ​​the international airport, but no injuries are reported and civil air traffic is not interrupted. According to analysts, the intention may have been to hit aviation fuel depots. This is the first time the Yemenis are shooting targets so close to a larger Saudi city.

Market visitors die in attack

November 1st

In a market in a Shia area in the north, 29 people have lost their lives in bombings carried out by the Saudi-led military alliance, sources say. According to the Shiite Muslim huthirbel, 21 civilians died. The Alliance is investigating the data.


Plans for referendum in the south

October 14

Aden’s former governor Aydarus al-Zubaidi announces a referendum on independence for South Yemen, but does not specify a date. He leads a self-proclaimed transitional council for the South since 2017, supported by the United Arab Emirates. The Council does not represent the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.


The UN is investigating charges

September 29th

Despite Saudi opposition, the UN Human Rights Council agrees to investigate allegations of crimes committed by both sides during the recent war in Yemen.

US aid is expanded

September 21

The United States extends its humanitarian assistance to people living in difficult circumstances as a result of the wars in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia. In total, the United States has spent $ 2.5 billion on the four conflict zones during the financial year, according to the aid agency USAID.

Many children among the victims

September 5

Since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries launched bombings in Yemen, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed, including 1,184 children, UN representatives say in the task of mapping out the war against civilians.

The UN wants to get aid through Aden

September 4th

The UN has begun to expand its presence in southern Yemen. One of the goals is to get more relief through Aden. Yemen’s internationally recognized government proclaimed Aden as its capital in 2015, after being forced out of Sanaa by the Iran-backed Huthirbels.


Money for cholera efforts

August 31st

The World Bank grants US $ 200 million to fight cholera in Yemen. The money will be used for vaccines and infrastructure that can improve the health situation in collaboration with, among others, the World Health Organization (WHO).

Internal fragmentation on the rebel side

August 31st

Deep dissatisfaction is reported between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his allied huthirbel, who are fighting a Saudi-led alliance and jointly controlling Sanaa. Saleh is alleged to be in house arrest, but television images show him at the funeral of a colonel who lost his life in an internal gunfire between the two camps, which must also have claimed the lives of two huthiers.

Requirements for UN investigation

August 29th

57 organizations from different countries demand that the UN investigate suspected crimes during the war in Yemen. The organizations, including Human Rights Watch, point out that there are reasons to believe that both sides of the conflict have committed serious abuses through their warfare.

Air strikes kill civilians

August 25th

The UN states that 58 civilians have lost their lives in war events over the past week alone. 42 of the deaths have been claimed in air strikes in the area of ​​Sanaa carried out by the alliance led by Saudi Arabia.

The appeal for opening for transport

August 18th

The UN calls for the warring parties to enable air traffic and ship transports to civil society. The airport in the capital Sanaa is controlled by the rebel side, while Saudi Arabia and its allies control the airspace. The location is similar at the port city of al-Hudayda (Hodeida).

More air strikes this year

August 14th

The number of air strikes against Yemen was twice as high during the first half of the year as in the whole of 2016, a UN report shows. In addition to air strikes carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies, the United States is using drones for suspected al-Qaeda targets.

Migrants forced into the sea

10th August

At least 60 migrants have drowned off the coast of Yemen, where refugee smugglers have forced about 300 people overboard. Despite the difficult conditions prevailing, the migrant stream to Yemen from the Horn of Africa continues. Many hope to be able to move on to work in the Gulf states.


Robot near Mecca

July 28

Seven miles from Mecca, Saudi air defense has shot down a robot fired by the rebels that Saudi forces are fighting in Yemen. Robots in Mecca’s vicinity have been around before, but much more common are rockets fired by Yemenrebel in the border area. Since the Saudi-led intervention in the 2015 Yemen conflict, 8,000 lives are believed to have been wasted.

Saudis are believed to have attacked a migrant boat

July 27

UN experts have concluded that it was a disused Saudi helicopter that attacked a boat with Somali migrants in the Red Sea in March. More than 40 of the 140 passengers lost their lives. Saudi forces participating in the Yemen war are the only ones in the region believed to have the capacity to carry out such an attack at sea.

Children need emergency help

July 26

After two years of war, cholera and food shortages, 80 percent of Yemen’s children need immediate relief, representatives of three UN organizations have visited the country. In total, ten million Yemenis are estimated to have urgent needs for supplies. The cholera epidemic has since April claimed a total of 1,900 lives, while approximately 400,000 people have been infected, according to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Arms exports are judged legal

July 10

A British court has ruled that the country’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia are legal. The CAAT, which called the Campaign Against Arms Trade, argued that weapons purchased from Britain are used for violations of international law in Yemen.


Over 1,000 dead in the cholera epidemic

June 20

The number of deaths in the cholera epidemic affecting Yemen is now at 1,170, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Over 170,000 cases have been reported since the outbreak was found in October 2016. The disease is hitting the country where famine threatens two-thirds of the population.

Many dead in attack against market

June 18

At least 24 civilians are killed in an airstrike against a market in the rebel-controlled province of Sadaa in the north. The war is now estimated to have claimed more than 8,000 lives.


Civila died of seizures

May 17

The Saudi-led military alliance is accused of causing the deaths of at least 23 civilians in connection with vehicle attacks on a road. People who met were on their way back to the town of Mawzaa after making purchases in nearby Barah. A spokesman for the alliance confirms the incident and describes it as a mistake.

Emergency due to cholera

15th of May

The rebels who rule the capital Sanaa announce that the spread of cholera has led to emergency situations; they ask for international help. The International Red Cross Committee has counted 184 deaths since April. There are 11 | 000 suspected cases throughout the country.

New management in the south

May 11

Former employees of the state, including several governors and ministers, have advocated a new transitional council, in practice a management for southern Yemen. They openly challenge President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who thus makes it even more difficult to hold together the forces that oppose the Shi’a rebels who control Sanaa and parts of the coast towards the Red Sea.

The conflict damages ancient finds

May 11

The Sanaa University Museum houses twelve mummies from about 400 BC, which are at risk of being destroyed. The war has led to, among other things, long power outages and a shortage of chemicals. The museum has difficulty maintaining the appropriate temperature and humidity to preserve the mummies, says the head of the archaeological department.

Saleh ready to negotiate

May 10

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is open to negotiations with Saudi Arabia. Unofficial talks between Saudis and Saleh’s circle have already been going on in Berlin for a week. However, the internationally recognized government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, which Saudi Arabia supports, Saleh refuses to accept.

WHO warns of lack of medication

May 1

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning an expanded response to infectious diseases, in particular cholera. The WHO also calls for increased resources to remedy the shortage of medicines for the treatment of other diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.


Promises of relief

April 25

At a donor meeting in which Sweden is one of the initiators, countries around the world promise over one billion dollars in emergency aid to Yemen. In June, the UN notes that only a third of the promises have been fulfilled.

“Bread march” to port

April 25

Protesters have traveled over 22 miles from Sanaa to the port city of al-Hudayda (Hodeida) to demand that the port be declared a humanitarian zone. The city, which is held by the Shi’a Bells and besieged by the Saudi-led military alliance, is important for the delivery of, among other things, food to the capital.

Saudi helicopter crashes

April 18

Twelve Saudi soldiers die when their helicopter crashes in Yemen. The incident is confirmed from a Saudi perspective, but the reason for the crash is not clear.


Abuse in the shadow of war

March 27th

The war causes women to end up in vulnerable situations. The number of reported cases of, among other things, rape, mistreatment and forced marriage has increased by 63 percent in the two years since the Saudi-led alliance entered the conflict, to more than 10,000 cases. The data has been collected by the UN organization UNFPA.

Criticism of arms exports

March 23rd

Amnesty International harshly criticizes the US and Britain for exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia, weapons that can be used in Yemen’s fighting. The two countries have been exporting weapons for more than $ 5 billion to Saudi Arabia since 2015. That’s ten times more than the humanitarian aid they provided to Yemen during the same time, according to Amnesty.

Traces of cluster bombs

March 9

The Saudi-led military alliance uses cluster bombs to attack residential areas, Amnesty International claims. Traces of cluster munitions manufactured in Brazil have been found following an attack on February 15 according to the human rights organization, which made similar allegations on a couple of previous occasions during the war.

Internal refugees after the Mock strikes

March 1st

The fighting at Mocha and nearby Dhubab has led to 45,000 people moving away from their homes and risking continued relocation, UNHCR and IOM states.


Children are recruited as soldiers

February 28

Nearly 1,500 boys have been recruited as child soldiers during the war years; these are tasks that the UN considers itself to have confirmations. There may be a large dark figure because relatives are afraid to talk about pressure. Most child soldiers are recruited by the rebel side, according to Amnesty. When it comes to young people under 15, it can be a war crime, a spokesman for the UN Refugee Commissioner points out.

Aid workers released

February 23

Seven employees of the Norwegian Refugee Council, all Yemenis, who have been detained by the rebel side have been released. The group had distributed packaging of Saudi origin, which aroused suspicion. The Norwegian organization emphasizes that it does not operate with Saudi support, it has only recycled Saudi packaging in aid packages.

Saudis promise reconstruction

February 22

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi announces that Saudi Arabia, which is fighting for its cause against the rebel side, has promised tens of billions of US dollars for reconstruction in provinces recaptured from the Houthis.

The city of Mocha falls

February 10

The government side takes on the coast of Mocka by the Red Sea after a month-long offensive. In Morocco, the population has grown as civilians along the coast have escaped the fighting.

Protest against drones from Iran

February 2

The regime in Iran is accused by the United Arab Emirates of providing arms to its Shiite Muslim cousins, the Yemeni rebel side. It is claimed that drones are delivered, among other things. An official protest is being made.


Many falls by the Red Sea

January 9

Major losses are reported on both sides during the battles over the Red Sea coast. The offensive, known as the Golden Spear, targets areas north of the strategically located Bab al-Mandab strait between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The fighting rages on for weeks and in the port city of Mocka, which is held by the rebel side, the situation becomes difficult for the civilian population.

Hadi launches offensive on the coast

7 th of January

Forces loyal to exiled President Hadi and the internationally recognized government are launching an offensive to push the Shiites out of the 45-mile coast towards the Red Sea.

Yemen Agriculture and Fishing