“We were like a tree waiting to die slowly,” Warda Saleh reflected. A widow and the mother of four children, Warda lives in Abasar village, Yemen. Her family relies on farming for their livelihood and very survival.
Like millions of other rural farmers, Warda’s crops and income were destabilized by the war in Yemen.
“Our suffering doubled when the war began; we could no longer care for our farm due to the absence of diesel, water scarcity, and the country’s economic conditions in general,” Warda explained.
This is telling, given that – in Yemen – agriculture accounts for 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs over 50 percent of the population.
Fortunately, Warda’s circumstances changed when she was selected by the Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) funded and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Implemented by the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), YECRP helped Warda and her family to improve the quality of their crops, and – with it – their income.
As 1 of 231 crisis-affected rural crop farmers, Warda is now trained in modern farming techniques and practices, and has been given solar water pumps to save on the costs of fuel, water, labor, and to improve crop production.
Warda explained: “In the past, I didn’t know what my farm needed – from water to manure.
While using traditional farming techniques, I produced only 300-400 baskets of tomatoes. Now, through drip irrigation and proper fertilizing, my farm’s production of tomatoes has reached 700 baskets. I’m now aiming for 1000.”
Warda hopes that the support continues and reaches other farmers, so that they too can be trained in modern farming techniques and practices.
Now, she doesn’t have to worry about her sons missing school to help her around the farm or her daughter doing the housework while she is busy farming.
“The water is pumped up from the well. Everything works automatically. With just the push of a button, I can do everything. We don’t need to worry about diesel or overworking anymore,” Warda beamed.
Funded by USAID, the Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) is implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and the Small And Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS). This US$11.2 million project creates life and work opportunities for the most vulnerable groups with a view to make households stronger, better able to cope, and capable of assisting and contributing to their communities.