Increasing food security and climate resilience in Yemen

IFAD scales up successful programmes to stimulate economic growth in rural communities

Rome, 26 March 2014 – A programme supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Yemen will improve rural livelihoods, benefitting 1.2 million vulnerable people in five governorates in the country's rural areas.

The financing agreement for the Rural Growth Programme , with a total cost of US$127.1 million, was signed earlier this week at IFAD headquarters by Khalid A. Al-Akwa, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen in Italy, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Food security has been an increasing challenge in Yemen for many years. The 2010 Global Hunger Index ranked Yemen as the 11th most food-insecure country in the world. The problem has been aggravated with population pressure, water scarcity, low agricultural productivity and a degraded natural resource base some of the challenging factors that exacerbate poverty in Yemen. The negative impacts of climate change are expected to worsen this situation.

The programme will target poor, food-insecure households and will focus on improving the livelihoods of women and young people and integrate a number of innovative elements, such as runoff harvesting from road surfaces, to counter water stress and adapt to growing climate risks.
IFAD's previous experience in Yemen has shown that community-driven, area based development initiatives can successfully address poverty and food insecurity while empowering remote rural communities, particularly rural women.

The Rural Growth Programme will scale up the successful approaches of the following IFAD-funded programmes and projects, for community development in Yemen:


  • The Dhamar Participatory Rural Development Project reported significant increases in crop yields after smallholder farmers adopted new technologies using improved seeds and beehives. Another salient feature of this project has been its sustainability with 90 per cent of the women-headed microenterprises running successful businesses which are better able to withstand economic and climatic shocks.
  • The Al Dhala Community Resource Management Project has provided community-led advisory services focusing on improved technologies (crop varieties, protected horticulture, drip irrigation) to the rural population in the governorate. The project's investments in domestic water supply has allowed women to save an estimated 300 labour hours a year.
  • The Community-based Rural Infrastructure Project for Highland Areas pioneered a method for contracting communities to design, construct and maintain access to roads in highland areas, contributing to significantly reduced travel costs and linking remote areas to markets and services.
    Since 1979, IFAD has invested a total of $257.9 million in 23 programmes and projects in Yemen, with a total cost of $854.8 million, benefiting over 800,000 households.
    Notes to Editors

The Rural Growth Programme is co-financed by:

  • IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme – $10.2 million
  • the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) - $15.4 million
  • the European Union (EU) – $16.1 million
    • microfinance banks/institutions (MFBIs) - $17.7 million
    • the Agriculture and Fisheries Production Promotion Fund (AFPPF$12.8 million
    • the Global Environment Facility- $15.0 million

Press release No.: IFAD/19/2014

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$15.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects reaching approximately 420 million people and helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations' food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 173 members from developing countries, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).