Many farmers in Yemen, especially the owners of small agricultural fields, seriously think about leaving work in agriculture and finding other income opportunities to live, because of the plenty of challenges they face that they are no longer capable to deal with on their own.
The fuel crisis comes at the top of these challenges facing the agricultural sector in Yemen in general, along with drought, climate changes, the lack of many needs for agricultural inputs, and the lack of interest of the responsible authorities in helping farmers to overcome these numerous difficulties.
In addition to another challenge, mango growers in Tihama complain of its prominence in this cultivation season, which is the exploitation of commercial agents who force them to sell their products at a cheap price.
Ismail Hamna (52 years old), one of the mango farmers in the city of Hais in the Hodeidah governorate, confirms in an interview with "Khuyut", that there is another problem they are facing recently, which is the dealing of commercial agents and the monopoly that controls the marketing of these agricultural products. He pointed out that the farmer finds himself in front of exclusive buying agents, so that he sells his crop - compelled - at the price determined by the agent in the absence of storage tools that the state is supposed to provide, which means that the product will be damaged if it is not sold within a few days of picking, and in a return that may not guarantee any profit for the farmer.
An agricultural expert points out that there are no governmental plans or programs that help the farmer and ensure his success in order to encouraging him to continue to produce. In fact, the farmer is vulnerable to losses, as this season suffers from a state of refraction and loss; Because of the current situation that Yemen is going through.
The war in Yemen has caused a decline in agricultural exports abroad, particularly to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, whose markets were absorbing the largest proportion of Yemen's agricultural exports.
Farm experts believe that the farmer bears part of the responsibility for the failure of the export process, especially in the field of fruit export, as it resorts to manual ripening through chemical intervention, which reduces the quality of the fruit; Thus losing its value and competitive features.
Commercial Agents' monopoly
Fruit growers are incurring heavy losses in order to preserve as much as possible of their fruits with the increase in fuel prices and the shortage of fertilizers and their high prices during the last period, due to the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine, and their inability to market their products in the local market.
Mohammad Al-Zubaidi, the owner of mango farms in Tihama, Hodeidah (northwest of Yemen), said in an interview with "Khuyut", that he is unable to market his mango crop and sell it at the price that compensates for the losses throughout the season.
He stresses that the concerned government bodies do not play any role in encouraging farmers, and do not have any strategies or plans to protect them, or help them in marketing their crops and products; Therefore, this market is dominated by a few agents who underestimate the farmer’s products and effort, and if he does not succumb to this extortion, the farmers’ products and fruits may be damaged, and they will not be able to market or sell their crop.
For his part, the professor of general fruit and horticultural crops at the Faculty of Agriculture at Sana’a University, Dr. Ahmed Al-Hadwani, in his interview with “Khuyut”, believes that the farmer is the weakest link, as he finds himself during the harvest in front of what he called a “gang” of exclusive agents of purchase, stressing on the importance of having state centers that guarantee smooth sales and farmers' gains.
Many mango growers are forced to sell their products without a profit margin to compensate for their losses, for fear of spoiling the fruit; As a result of not having any coolers or refrigerators to keep their products for a longer period.
Al-Hadwani pointed out that there are no plans or programs that help the farmer and guarantee his success. Thus, encouraging him and continuing to produce. Famer is vulnerable to losses, as this season suffers from a state of refraction and loss due to the current situation that Yemen is going through.
Closure and stockpiling of products
Ali Al-Hussaini (28 years old), a resident of the city of Damt in Al-Dhalae Governorate (southern Yemen), is surprised to buy one kilo of Timor-type mango fruit at the beginning of the season for about 2500 riyals, then at the middle of the season its price drops to 500 riyals. Referring to the state of confusion in the buying and selling process, speaking on behalf of consumers who are not able to buy fruit until the end of the season, when its price decreases. He alluded to the losses of the farmer who extend his effort and money on ripening the fruit and then sell it at a cheap price, as he described it.
The cultivation of mango fruit is of great economic and nutritional importance, and brings tangible income to those who take care of it, as it covers the local market and is exported abroad.
Mohammad al-Muntasir, professor of agriculture at Sana’a University, concludes, in an interview with “Khuyut”, that the suffering of the agricultural sector in Yemen and mango farmers is due in large part to the war and ongoing conflict in Yemen and the accompanying closure of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to land, sea and air outlets. This led to the halting of the export process and forcing farmers to market their products in the local markets, which leads to the accumulation of products within the markets and the emergence of monopoly and exploitation by commercial agents.
Al-Muntasir concluded by urging the concerned agricultural authorities to provide some central refrigerators to preserve and market fruits and vegetables, according to the level of demand for it, so that the consumer can obtain fruits throughout the year without being damaged.