Realizing Food Security Through Sustainable Agriculture in the Republic of Yemen: Implications for Rural Extension

  • Mirza Barjees BaigEmail author
  • Ajmal Mahmood Qureshi
  • Gary S. Straquadine
  • Asaf Hajiyev


The chapter bears upon the challenges for food security in Yemen and the factors that constrain sustainable development of the agriculture sector. The serious constraints that prevent the agriculture sector to flourish include, inter alia, low productivity, lack of financial resources, inadequate marketing systems, low human resource, poor infrastructure, dearth of suitable production technologies and insufficient availability of inputs. The government has also been responsible for the poor state of agriculture because over the years due to financial crisis it has not assigned high priority to this vital sector of economic activity. External factors such as climate change, internal social conflicts, and security issues are also negatively impacting on the agricultural sector. The government has to spend a huge amount of money to import food commodities to meet its food requirements, although considerable potential exists to earn a significant amount of foreign exchange by exporting its good quality coffee. A major portion of the meager resources (land and water) of the country is being utilized to produce qat – a narcotic plant chewed by the huge segment of population. The qat is gradually replacing coffee and appears to be the chief rival of the coffee crop, restricting its growth to small pockets of land. Thus, in the present scenario, the country needs a sound plan, and a pragmatic policy that could re-establish agriculture sector to ensure food security and alleviate rural poverty. Agricultural extension can play a critical role in addressing the issues faced by the agricultural sector and help in enhancing food supplies. Unfortunately, the National Agricultural Extension Service (NAES) in the country is also beset with innumerable problems that, besides others, range from organizational weakness, lack of resources, poor extension staff performing non-extension activities with no clear responsibilities. The chapter provides in-depth analyses of the issues and challenges that render NAES ineffective and inefficient. If measures are taken in letter and spirit to improve the National Extension Service, it can help the country realize sustainable agriculture. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to identify the constraints faced by the agricultural sector and national extension system and suggest suitable innovative strategies that could improve crop yields and ensure food security through sustainable agricultural production systems.


Climate change Food security Phase-out qat Coffee production Capacity-building programs Innovative technologies Water shortage Development strategies Farming systems Natural resources Stakeholders Policies Extension education 



The authors are extremely grateful and express their gratitude to the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences for extending us all the possible help and sincere cooperation toward the completion of this piece of work and research.


  1. ACSAD. (2002). Land degradation in republic of Yemen: Summary report of land degradation project in republic of Yemen. The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD). Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Sanaa (Yemen). Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Sanaa (Yemen). Available at:
  2. Al-Kharasani, M. A. A. (2014). Climate change and agriculture in Yemen. African-Asian Journal of Rural Development, 47(2), 61–80.Google Scholar
  3. Al-Monitor. (2014). Yemen’s coffee revival. Al-Monitor: The pulse of the Middle East. Available at: Assessed on 2 Apr 2015.
  4. Al-Shehri, S. (2011). Yemeni coffee crop: Historic fame, production areas and the famous types. Available at: Accessed on 25 Dec 2014.
  5. Al-Zaidi, A. A., Baig, M. B., Shalaby, M. Y., & Hazber, A. W. (2016). Level of knowledge and its application by coffee farmers in the Udeen Area, Governorate of Ibb – Republic of Yemen. The Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences, 26(6), 1797–1804.Google Scholar
  6. Almasa, A. A. M., & Scholzb, M. (2006). Agriculture and water resources crisis in Yemen: Need for sustainable agriculture. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 28(3), 55–75. Scholar
  7. CFSS. (2012). The state of food security and nutrition in Yemen. Comprehensive Food Security Survey (CFSS). World Food Program (WFP). Report Available at:
  8. FAO. (2009). Country second report on the state of world’s plant genetic resources for Food and Agriculture in Yemen (1996–2006) (pp. 1–48).Google Scholar
  9. FAOSTAT. (2015, 2016). Country profile–Yemen. Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. Available at:
  10. FAO. (2015). Millions of Yemenis face food insecurity amidst escalating conflict. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at:
  11. FAO. (2016). FAO warns of rapidly deteriorating food security in Yemen. Available at:
  12. GAFSP. (2013). Proposal for Yemen: Smallholder agricultural productivity enhancement program. Phase-1 Roll out of National Agriculture Sector Strategy (NASS) for Yemen’s Efforts towards achieving food security under Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) Sana’a. June 4th, 2013.Google Scholar
  13. GFSI. (2016). Global food security index. An annual measure of the state of global food security (p. 9). Washington, DC: The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2016.Google Scholar
  14. GIEWS. (2015). Country brief – Yemen. Available at:
  15. Government of Yemen. (2013). Proposal for Yemen: Smallholder agricultural productivity enhancement program phase one roll out of national agriculture sector strategy (NASS) for Yemen’s efforts towards achieving food security under global agriculture and food security program (GAFSP) Sana’a June 4th, 2013.Google Scholar
  16. Hugh, T., Burke, J., & Faurès, J. M. (2011). Climate change, water and food security. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2011, 174 pp., Softcover, isbn:978-92-5-106795-6.Google Scholar
  17. ICARDA. (2012). Combating land degradation in Yemen – A national report. A review of available knowledge on land degradation in Yemen – combating desertification in Yemen – Oasis Country Report 4 (pp. 1–81). Available at:
  18. IFAD. (2007, December 11–13). Country strategic opportunities paper (COSOP) 2008–2013. Document EB 2007/92/R.18. Rome.Google Scholar
  19. IFAD. (2009). Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty in Yemen. International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome. Available at:
  20. IFAD. (2013). Rural growth programme (pp. 1–189). Detailed design report Main report and appendices. Document Date: 20 Aug 2013. Project No. 1672 Near East, North Africa and Europe Division Programme Management Department.Google Scholar
  21. IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development). (2013). Harvesting water to increase productivity. Seeds of innovation: NENA and CEN Regions. Rome.
  22. IFAD. (2015). A gender balanced model for community development model. Seeds of Innovation. Near East North Africa and Europe Office of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development). Fact Sheet. Available at:
  23. IFPRI. (2011). Yemen national food security strategy. Overview and Action Plan. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC 20006–1002 USA. Ministry of Planning & International CooperationFood Security Strategy Program, Sana’a - Republic of Yemen. Available at:
  24. IRIN. (2007). Yemen: Land degradation threatening farmers, says senior official. News published on Oct 18, 2007 in IRIN International News. Available at:
  25. IRIN. (2012). YEMEN: Time running out for solution to water crisis. An article published on August 13, 2012. Available at:
  26. Muharram, I. A., & Khalil, M. A. (2001). The situations of Agricultural Extension in Yemen: A quick Overview. The Yemeni Journal of Agricultural Research and Studies, Issue no. 5, Agricultural Research and Extension Authority (AREA), Dhamar -The Republic of Yemen.Google Scholar
  27. NAP. (2000). National Action Plan. Published by the Government of Republic of Yemen, Sana. The Republic of Yemen.Google Scholar
  28. NASS. (2012). A promising sector for diversified economy in Yemen: Strategy jointly prepared in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, Economic Diversification Support Program (Agriculture Sector) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. National Agriculture Strategy – 2012–2016. The Republic of Yemen.Google Scholar
  29. New Agriculturist. (2010). Country profile – Yemen. Available at: Assessed on 5 Apr 2015.
  30. Qamar, M. K. (2012). Extension in Yemen.Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services. Available at:
  31. Sallam, M., & Akram, B. (2005) Agriculture extension situation in Dhamar province. Dhamar Rural Development Project, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Yemen.Google Scholar
  32. USAID. (2005). Moving Yemen coffee forward assessment of the coffee industry in Yemen to sustainably improve incomes and expand trade. Publication produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. Prepared by ARD, Inc.Google Scholar
  33. USAID. (2016). YEMEN country development cooperation strategy 2014 – 2016. Available at:
  34. World Bank. (2002). The Republic of Yemen – economic growth: sources, constraints and potentials. Washington, DC: The World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. World Bank. (2006). Country assistance evaluation. independent evaluation group. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  36. World Bank. (2009). Yemen: reducing serious water stress. Water in Middle East and North Africa.
  37. World Bank, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development). (2009). Improving food security in Arab Countries. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  38. World Bank. (2011a). World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  39. World Bank. (2011b). World development indicators database. Accessed 10 Sept 2014.
  40. World Bank; United Nations; European Union; Islamic Development Bank; and Yemen, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. (2012). Joint social and economic assessment for the republic of Yemen. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirza Barjees Baig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ajmal Mahmood Qureshi
    • 2
  • Gary S. Straquadine
    • 3
  • Asaf Hajiyev
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Society, College of Food and Agriculture SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Harvard University – Asia CenterCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Utah State University – EasternPriceUSA
  4. 4.Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC)Academician of Azerbaijan National Academy of SciencesBakuAzerbaijan

Personalised recommendations