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The Republic of Yemen is located in Western Asia. Its capital is Sana’a, and population 25,130,000 (2011). The country is divided into 20 governorates (Muhafizaat), which are further divided into districts. Agriculture is diverse, main crops being sorghum, wheat and barley, and millions of mango trees. Most of the cultivable area is rain-fed. Groundwater and spate floods are major sources of irrigation. Most farmers are poor and subsistence. Rural women have not yet come into mainstream development. The country has distinct agro-ecological zones comprising coastal, mountainous and desert areas. Over-pumping of groundwater by farmers and the popular cultivation of too much water consuming qat crop are serious problems. Recent reports indicate over 40 percent of the population not having access to adequate food, and about one million children suffering from malnutrition. These numbers raise grave concerns about deteriorating food security situation.


During 1980s, extension services were strengthened under various projects funded by donor agencies, especially the World Bank. Later, government’s priorities changed and extension has been suffering setbacks since 1990s. Until recently, Agricultural Research and Extension Authority (AREA), an autonomous body, was responsible for both research and extension in Yemen, but the Authority was criticized for focusing on research and ignoring extension. Now, as a result of re-organization, the function of extension has been given to the General Directorate of Extension & Training located within the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. Extension has been decentralized along with other technical departments in Yemen.

Andrea Bohn,
10/3/2011 9:39