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Yemen PDF version    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 09-February-2015


  1. Conflict escalation and recent vacuum of power brought fresh concerns about food security prospects

  2. Average cereal crop gathered in 2014

  3. Retail prices of wheat stable in recent months

  4. Food insecurity decreased from 45 percent in 2011 to over 40 percent in 2014, leaving absolute number of food insecure unchanged

Continuously shifting power dynamics resulting in conflict escalation and the recent vacuum of power after the resignation of the President brought fresh concerns about the political stability and food security prospects in the country stricken by widespread poverty.

Depending on the region, land preparation is currently underway for the 2015 crop: maize in Central Highlands, sorghum in Southern up lands and Eastern Plateau. Reports indicate normal meteorological conditions, as well as normal availability of inputs. Vegetation response captured by Normalized Difference Vegetation Index using satellite images suggests average to above-average pasture conditions (as shown by the NDVI map on the right).

Average cereal crop gathered in 2014

Harvesting of the 2014 main season wheat crop was concluded in September and that of sorghum in November. Although locally in some areas of the country a below-average crop production due to uneven rainfall was gathered, an average total cereal production was harvested. Accordingly, total cereal is put at 860 000 tonnes, including 430 000 tonnes of sorghum and 240 000 tonnes of wheat.

Slightly decreased import requirements

Yemen is largely dependent on imports from international markets to satisfy its domestic consumption requirement for wheat, the main staple. The import dependency for wheat is about 95 percent and in the last five years, an average of 2.8 million tonnes per annum of wheat was imported commercially out of a total domestic wheat utilization of about 3 million tonnes. As a consequence, the country is highly vulnerable to international commodity price increases and volatility.

The import requirement for cereals in the 2014 marketing year (January/December) is estimated at about 4.1 million tonnes, about the same as in 2013. Most of the imports is wheat (almost 3 million tonnes), followed by some 700 000 tonnes of maize and 400 000 tonnes of rice.

Retail prices of wheat stable in recent months

Average retail prices of wheat and wheat flour in specific markets are generally stable on monthly basis with seasonal variations. Large regional differences in retail prices exist depending on quality variation, transportation costs and distance of the entry ports. The highest prices are generally reported in Sa’ada (YER 135 per kg of wheat in December 2014, YER 145 per kg of flour), while the lowest can be found in Amram (YER 110 per kg of wheat and YER 130 per kg of flour).

In October 2014 (last information available), the country’s level of annual general inflation was 8.5 percent, up from 5.8 percent in May 2014 when it was at its lowest level since December 2012. Food inflation stood at 3.5 percent, up from 2.15 percent in September 2014.

Absolute number of food insecure unchanged

Persistent conflict continues to displace households in central areas of the country.

Preliminary findings from the 3rd Comprehensive Food Security Survey (CFSS 2014) in Yemen show that while food security has improved in some areas, an estimated 10.6 million people – over 41 percent of the total population – are currently unable to meet their basic food needs. Of these, 5.6 million are moderately food insecure and 5 million people are severely food insecure, suffering from levels of hunger where external food assistance is generally required and the prevalence of chronic malnutrition among children under the age of five is beyond the international benchmark of “critical.”

The Comprehensive Food Security Survey, which is usually held every two years, also shows that Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates in Yemen are serious across most of the country and at emergency levels in some areas. Levels of food insecurity across the country showed a slight decline from 45 percent to 41 percent, since the last similar survey in 2011, but there were huge variations among different governorates. In the northern governorate of Sa’ada, almost 70 percent of people were food-insecure, compared with fewer than 10 percent in Al Mahra in the east. Similar disparities are evident in malnutrition rates in different parts of the country, with global acute malnutrition rates ranging from critical, denoting an emergency, in the western coastal governorates of Taiz, Hodeidah and Hajja, to serious or poor in almost all other governorates.

The majority (84 percent) of the total food insecure people live in rural areas, and paradoxically around 2.5 million food producers (e.g. farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and agricultural wage labourers) are also classified as food insecure.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis from September 2014 confirms the CFSS findings. During 2014, about 4.8 million people (18.3 percent of the population of Yemen) are under Emergency, 5.8 million people under Crisis. The overall current food security situation shows a slight improvement compared to the previous years, however, there are still 10.6 million people (40 percent of the population) under the Emergency and Crisis phases.

A WFP Operation shifting from relief assistance to recovery and resilience to promote food and nutrition security replaced the previous emergency operation. Between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016, it will assist many of Yemen’s severely food-insecure people through unconditional household food or cash distributions, conditional participatory food assistance activities, nutritional support for the treatment and prevention of acute and chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, and meals and take-home rations for school children to improve attendance, nutrition and learning.

The population under crisis and stress phases require different livelihoods based intervention to improve their resilience against the imminent hazards and threats.

Relevant links:
 As of Mar 2015, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2009
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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