Arabia Weather - According to many studies, Yemen is considered among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with less willingness to mitigate or adapt to those effects. This indicates the need to develop effective national strategies and obtain external support to address this challenge.
The agricultural sector is among the sectors most affected by these climate changes, whether due to drought and severe floods, or changes in rainfall patterns and rising temperatures. In late October, the governorates of Al-Mahra and Hadramaut in Yemen were subjected to floods resulting from rainfall, resulting in losses of infrastructure, property, and agricultural land. Heavy rains also affected other governorates, causing a negative impact on agricultural fields.
With recent developments, rains in previous years have sometimes turned into flash floods, resulting in landslides, soil erosion, uprooting of plants, and deterioration of agricultural terraces, highlighting an urgent need to take effective measures to enhance agriculture’s resilience to these climate challenges.
Dr. Abdul Qader Al-Kharaz, climate change and environmental assessment consultant, points out that Yemen, although it does not have a significant impact on climate change, is affected by specific factors. He stresses that its geographical location on the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean plays a role in the impact of hurricanes. Topographic diversity also shows a difference in rainfall between mountainous regions, inland valleys, desert and coastal regions.
On the other hand, sustainable development consultant Muhammad Abdullah Al-Sharabi points out that Yemen, despite being one of the countries that produces the least greenhouse gases, suffers greatly from climate change. It is emphasized that it is rich in sources of biodiversity and its ecosystems that could have helped resist the effects of climate, but its geographical location and the diversity of its terrain make it one of the countries most affected by this phenomenon.
According to the Agricultural Climate Bulletin issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yemen, farmers in some areas of Al-Mahra and Hadramaut were negatively affected by high temperatures, which led to a deterioration in the availability of irrigation water due to the inability of most small farmers to bear the costs of irrigating crops due to high temperatures. Fuel prices. Water stress remains a challenge for most farmers in these areas.
On the other hand, the Sharia Environmental Consultant monitors aspects of climate change, such as increasing rock slides and the risk of floods with the circulation of dust and agricultural soil. Higher temperatures and the resulting impact on the water needs of crops are also observed, leading to water stress and crop failure.
It is worth noting that there are positive opportunities that can be taken advantage of, such as storing rainwater in mountainous areas to benefit from it in agriculture, and stimulating the storage of heavy rainwater in coastal or desert areas to benefit from growing desertification-resistant plants.
In recent years, the agriculture sector, which accounts for 17% of the country's gross product, has suffered the impact of floods, droughts and pests, leading to a decline in crop production. Data showed that desertification caused by drought caused annual losses of between 3 and 5% of arable land.
Some statistics indicate that the proportion of mountain terraced land ranges between 20 to 25% of arable land. This is due to the lack of regular reclamation due to the lack of financial capacity of farmers and the absence of funding to support them.
As a result of the floods, the soil was affected and caused the loss of agricultural land, causing the area of agricultural land to decrease from 1.6 million hectares in 2010 to 1.2 million hectares in 2020, according to a study titled “Impacts of Climate Change on Yemen and Adaptation Strategies.” This study was published by the Yemeni Family Welfare Association and published by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen last September.
In general, impacts from climate change lead to various losses, such as reduced agricultural sector GDP, loss of agricultural production, and reduced food supply. Experts indicate that these phenomena cause the loss of irrigated production and reduce water supplies in urban areas, according to the study of the "National Strategy for Climate Change in Yemen."
To answer a question about tips for adapting to climate changes, the Sharabi researcher pointed out the importance of benefiting from the experiences of ancient civilization in adapting to temporal changes in climate. He explained that Yemeni people have created engineering procedures, irrigation, and agricultural terraces that reflect their integration with the environment and their excellence in agricultural technology.
He explained that the ancient inhabitants built their homes hanging on the slopes of the mountains, edging the edges, constructing drainage channels and planting forest trees and shrubs along these channels. They developed the creation of agricultural terraces using advanced engineering methods.
Al-Sharabi added that these ancient experiences must be re-evaluated and transformed into environmental awareness programs that seek to restore the affected plant matrix and ecosystems. He stressed the need to prepare an engineering program that teaches engineers how to design agricultural terraces according to mountain engineering standards, in addition to awareness programs for young people about the dangers of migration and its effects on natural resources.
On the other hand, Al-Kharaz advised of the need to re-plan city construction to be safer from environmental impacts, such as creating safe spaces between land and sea in coastal cities, and implementing sewage and rainwater drainage networks. He stressed the need to reconsider city structures to reduce negative impacts and enhance resistance.
The proposal also includes re-planning valley streams to reduce the erosion of agricultural lands and repairing agricultural terraces in mountainous areas to utilize them for grain cultivation to increase production.
Among the positive opportunities that the government can benefit from, according to the climate consultant, is “exploiting funds allocated internationally for countries most affected by climate change that did not cause them, such as Yemen.”
The study “National Strategy...” presented solutions for adaptation in the agricultural field, including “greater reliance on the usual improvement in rain-fed crop production, the use of improved short-season seed varieties, especially corn, and the use of drought-resistant small grains, as well as reliance on irrigation efficiency and efficient Use other available resources.
The study also advised “identifying agricultural practices and crops suitable for different regions, encouraging linkages between farmers, agricultural research and agricultural expansions, as well as identifying experts for both field crops and grain crops, not to mention organizing land use training and a land management plan for stakeholders in the countryside and governorates, and encouraging the adoption of appropriate agricultural practices and finally the promotion of drought-resistant crops (such as sorghum).”
The study also highlighted the need for evidence-based early warning agro-climate information that guides effective policies and practices to achieve long-term food security.
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