27 February 2014
32nd Near East Regional Conference
Side event on Food Security in Yemen
Your Excellency Farid Mujawar, Minister for Agriculture of Yemen
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for attending this side event on Yemen.
Yemen is facing a protracted crisis that has a negative impact in its livelihood and in its agricultural sector. This is a risk for the country but also for the entire region.
Its crisis caused by a combination of factors. They include:
- scarce natural resources, especially water,
- vulnerability to climate change,
- crop infestation by desert locusts and other plagues and diseases
- high dependency on food imports,
- conflict, and
- the refugee flow into the country.
Let me give you some numbers that illustrate the gravity of the situation:
Five hundred thousand migrants and refugees have arrived in Yemen since 2006. Most of them are fleeing across the sea from the Horn of Africa. And many of them are young people, running from conflict and the lack of opportunities in their own countries.
And there are another six hundred thousand Internally Displaced Persons from the 2006-2011 conflict.
According to FAO’s latest estimates, about 30 of the Yemeni population is undernourished. This is very close to the level for 1990-1992, when measurement started.
However, because of population growth, the total number of hungry people has doubled from 3.7 million to 7.4 million.
As you might know, I visited Yemen last year and saw first-hand the difficult food security situation the country is facing.
Yemen has also been a subject of concern raised during my visits to the Near East countries. I can understand that, because we know that, in a globalized world, food security cannot be achieved in one country alone.
No single country can be considered secure if it is not food secure. Hunger and conflict are closely related.
That is also true for Yemen. It has great challenges and also great possibilities.
Yemen has the potential and the will to solve its problems. But Yemen needs support to tap into this potential.
And that is why we are here today.
FAO is ready to increase its support to Yemen. In addition to our current work in the field, we are preparing a comprehensive program to support Yemeni agricultural and rural development and food security.
We need your support to implement it. We need your support to fund it.
As I mentioned earlier today, I would like to invite you to set up a special multilateral donor trust fund to support Yemeni agricultural and rural development, to create opportunities and jobs in the country, to achieve food security.
A food secure Yemen, a Yemen that can seize the opportunities to develop sustainably is important for Yemen, for the Gulf region, for the Arab countries and for the world.
It is part of the future we want.
Thank you for your attention.