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Yemen Keeps on Plowing

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Yemen has been an agricultural wonder for over three thousand years and once was considered the breadbasket of Arabia, supplying grain to Mecca and Medina. In recent years the population explosion and growth of urban areas have reduced the production of food. Although there is a shortage of groundwater in many areas, due to over-exploitation by modern tubewells, there is still great potential for sustainable agriculture both with irrigation and dry farming. Yemen's landscape has preserved many of its mountain terraces, built up over centuries. On most of these it is not possible to use large modern tractors, but traditional plows work well.

Terraces in Hayfan

The ingenuity of two female Yemeni engineers is to be applauded for inventing a portable plow that works without the need for draft animals. The love of rural Yemenis for their cows and donkeys is still there, so old and true scratch plows are viable with such animals, but this is a good option for families that no longer have such animals.

My thanks to Mohammed Jarhoom for posting this.

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