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Yemen: Sanaa gov’t launches solar-powered project for coffee irrigation

February 20, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Yemen’s government in Sanaa launched a solar energy project for coffee irrigation [Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash]

Yemen’s de-facto government in the capital Sanaa yesterday launched a solar energy project for coffee irrigation.  According to the Yemen Press Agency, the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation in the Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG), Abdulmalik Al-Thawr, inaugurated the project in the Bilad Al-Ghalf area of the Bani Matar District in the Sanaa governorate.

During the opening ceremony, which was attended by local officials and a group of coffee farmers, the minister emphasised the importance of the project and its role in promoting the growth of coffee cultivation.

Thawr also pointed out that the ministry is working to implement similar initiatives in the rest of the districts and provinces. At the end of the inauguration, qat shrubs were uprooted and coffee trees were planted.

READ: EU allocates over $206m aid to Yemen

Yemen is home to some of the most sought-after coffee varieties in the world which is known for its distinct taste. The coffee beans are grown at high altitudes, making them denser and more flavourful. However, Yemen’s coffee industry has faced significant challenges amid the on-going Saudi-led coalition’s war against the country.

Rising fuel costs and energy scarcity have also set back coffee cultivation while the coalition-imposed blockade has also impacted exports of coffee, one of Yemen’s primary crops. Many farmers have been forced to run their own water irrigation pumps and those who can afford to, are turning to solar energy. Others have also shifted to growing the highly-addictive qat plant, due to its lower labour input compared to coffee and its perceived faster cash returns. In 2019, Reuters reported on the “booming solar sector” which is transforming lives and energy sustainability in Yemen.

READ: EU allocates over $206m aid to Yemen