Improving the dairy value chain in Yemen, and empowering women along the way

For 25-year-old Fathia Moafaa, every day is a struggle to make ends meet.


Her work starts at 6pm, just after evening prayers and, apart from a short break at 10pm, she continues through the night until dawn, turning milk from the family’s three cows into yoghurt, butter, ghee and laban to sell at her local market in Yemen’s Al Hudaydah governorate. The profit Fathia generates supports herself, her husband and her mother in law. “This is our livelihood,” she says. “This is how we exist.”

Like many others in the dairy business, Fathia works with traditional equipment and lacks access to basic resources such as electricity and refrigeration. She is constantly hassled by the local health authorities who say her produce does not meet proper food safety and hygiene standards. 

FAO is improving the dairy value chain as one of the key components of its Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) programme funded by the European Union. The programme is designed to enhance the self-reliance of rural people and communities, and assist them to better cope with crises, risks and shocks. In February 2017, 600 beneficiaries (including 94 women) in Al Marawi'ah in Al Hudaydah governorate received new equipment, including stainless steel milks cans, food grade plastic filters and butter churns. The goal is to enable the women to produce better quality food and to higher standards, which will allow them to earn more income at the market. 

“The women’s response to this project has been very enthusiastic,” says Laila Bakri, FAO’s trainer in Al Hudaydah, adding that women have rushed to give feedback and suggest other ways they could be supported.

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