After it crossed the 21 million mark before the war, the number of livestock decreased in Yemen

Drought, deteriorating living conditions and displacement are among the most important factors for the decline in livestock numbers in Yemen.

“I had to sell half of my wealth from sheep in the past two months in order to spend on the house, because of my low salary of 40 dollars, and my inability to buy fodder, the price of which rose to about one dollar in the last period,” with these words Saeed Manzouk began talking to Al Jazeera Net After being asked about the size of his livestock livestock, he has been working in this profession for 27 years.

Manzouk – a resident of the town of Mudaraba north of Lahj (southern Yemen) and working in the educational corps – says that he owned 120 sheep before the outbreak of the war in March 2015, but today it has reached only 25, as he lost half of it during the past two months because of The inability to provide the family’s requirements due to his poor salary and the inability to buy fodder after the drought that hit his area and caused its price to rise.

An agricultural census issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in Yemen places animal production in second place after plant production in terms of its contribution to the total agricultural production in Yemen, at a rate of 23.5%.

The agricultural sector is one of the most important pillars of the national economy, as the average contribution of this sector is about 13.7% of the GDP, while the average contribution of the agricultural sector to the national income is 16.5%.

Far from his family and children, Hadi Labneh, who works in camel care, moves between the desert and valleys in areas between Lahj and Aden, and stays for weeks in search of pasture, but the war – as he says – did not leave him freedom of movement because of the mine network. She lost pasture during drought, to have to sell some to provide for some needs, while others lost due to falling off mountain slopes.

The report of the Department of Statistics and Agricultural Meteorology for the year 2018 indicates a decline in the volume of livestock in Yemen between 2014 and 2018. The number of livestock in the country in 2014 was estimated at about 21 million and 296 thousand heads, bringing the number to about 19 million and 392 thousand heads, 8 million and 813 thousand of them of sheep, while the number of goats reached 8 million and 644 thousand, cows million and 503 thousand, and camels 431 thousand heads.

Epidemiological animal diseases spread among livestock in war zones in Yemen (Al-Jazeera)

Reasons for low livestock numbers

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the Director-General of Animal Health and Animal Quarantine at the Ministry of Agriculture in Yemen, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Khatib, attributes the reasons for the decline in livestock numbers during the war period to the spread of epidemic animal diseases in war zones, in addition to road disruptions, the difficulty of transporting livestock to markets, the high costs of transporting them and the high cost of transporting them. Prices of animal production inputs, such as feed and vaccines, which led to a reluctance to raise animals.

Al-Khatib said that the expansion of the phenomenon of livestock smuggling from the Horn of Africa to the country that is not subject to veterinary quarantine contributed to the transmission of diseases and epidemics to animals that have already led to the injury and death of large numbers of livestock in various governorates.

For his part, Ali Hamad, a specialist in animal veterinary medicine, says that drought, the deterioration of livelihood and displacement were important factors for the decline in the volume of livestock, unlike what it was before the war.

Hamad pointed out that the prices of fodder increased by 400%, and this exacerbated the situation for animal shepherds due to drought and economic deterioration, which made workers in this profession look for the most important provision for their families, even if it was through the gateway to sell part of their animals.

He added that some of the displaced left their animals to escape the confrontations, others sold them due to the difficulty of transporting them to the place of displacement, while some lost their wealth as a result of the military actions in Yemen.

Livestock production in Yemen declined between 2014 and 2018 from 215,126 tons of meat to 180,918 tons, in addition to a decline in milk production from 379,564 tons to 316,782 tons, according to the 2018 census.

The agricultural sector absorbs 54% of the total workforce in Yemen.

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