Invest in Yemen - Agriculture

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Agricultural production is the single most important contributor to Yemen’s economy, presenting investors with the greatest potential for development in the Arabian Peninsula. Accounting for 20% of the country’s GDP and 58% employment, Yemen’s agricultural sector enjoys the benefits of abundant, experienced low cost labor (average income USD $90/month), a vibrant local market and strong cash crop production. According to the IMF, Yemen averaged a 5.5% non hydrocarbon growth rate per annum between 2004 and 2008, much of it driven by agriculture (World Bank 2009)

The country’s temperate climate and particularly heavy rainfall in its western highlands region (1500mm/year) also contribute to its advantageous 1.5 million hectares of arable land, a unique quality in an otherwise dry corner of the world. Most recent statistics (2000) indicate that up to 90% of water use and rainfall in Yemen is dedicated to the agricultural sector (Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] Statistical Yearbook 2009).

Investment opportunities in the agricultural sector show great promise for interested investors. Internationally, Yemen’s export values doubled from USD $66 million in 2000 to USD $125 million in 2007, beating out Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar by margins of up to 7 to 1 (FAO Statistical Yearbook 2009). Key agricultural exports include milk and eggs, fish and crustaceans, bananas, wheat bran, dry onions and green coffee; imports focus on wheat, refined sugar, milled rice, chicken meat, palm oil and maize.

Investors have also been attracted to Yemen’s domestic market. Its growing population of 23 million inhabitants – whose diets favor carbohydrates (wheat, maize, rice), proteins (poultry, bovine meat, sheep and goat), oils (vegetable and palm), sweeteners (sugar) and whole milk – present investors with the possibility of producing solely for domestic consumption.

In terms of production, Yemen yields key produce such as mango, sorghum, whole cow milk, grapes, tomatoes and eggs. Other highly harvested crops include watermelons, bananas, oranges, onions and wheat. The highest growth sector has been in processed and packaged snack foods.

Key Strengths:

In addition to its large local market, unique arable lands and economically competitive experienced labor market, Yemen provides more key strengths contributing to its already attractive agricultural sector. These include:

  • Government enacted policies focused on increasing productivity through more efficient irrigation, enhanced and better regulated use of fertilizers and pesticides, and strengthened marketing, research veterinary and extension services.

  •  Public policy promoting trade, open markets, facilities to help increase export volumes and the advancement of farming and livestock breeding.

  • Numerous local agricultural associations capable of providing support and direction.

Current Successful Project in the Agricultural Sector 
Name of Project owner or Company Investment(USD) Location
Increasing Seeds Aggreko Yemen Co. Ltd. for Agricultural Products 5,960,591 Sana'a
Agricultural Exports Preparation Center The cooperation Azan's Assembly 1,190,497 Sana'a
The Fruit and Vegetable Production Trading Center Trance East Andosit Group Co. 312,500 Sana'a
Total: 7,463,588 $

GIA can help:

The agriculture sector in Yemen has great potential for growth and even greater potential for investment. GIA will help investors learn more about industry opportunities and, when applicable, establish contact with the various Yemeni institutions and associations responsible for agricultural management and growth including the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Agricultural Research and Extension Authority, the Cooperative and Agricultural Credit Bank and the Ministry of Fish Wealth.

For further information on opportunities in agriculture, please contact GIA’s sector expert in the field:

Name: Mr. Raji A. Bassaid
Position: Head of the Services & Agriculutural Sector
Language: Arabic
Tel: 967 1 262 962 / 262 963
Fax: 967  1 262 964
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