Domestic Production Achieves Self-Sufficiency in Yemen
Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Ahmed Omar
The industrial sector is one of the most important sectors of the economy in Yemen. It is also a source of growth and progress for the country in achieving self-sufficiency, and getting rid of dependence on other countries in securing food for the population. The local industry sector can only flourish with significant agricultural wealth. This wealth is used to produce food commodities, and raw materials for many food industries.
There have been many local investments that have helped the growth of the industrial sector in Yemen. According to the latest statistics of the National Information Center in 2007, “the growth rate of the industries sector was 9.22% at constant prices. The contribution of transformational industries at constant prices in the same year was 5.2%, with the exception of oil refining in the GDP. Regarding the growth rate of extractive industries at constant prices in the same year was 11.79%. Their contribution to the GDP at constant prices in 2007 was 19.2%. The contributing percentage of the extractive industries includes oil and gas only.
The food industry sector is one of the important sectors which contribute effectively to achieving the country’s self-sufficiency in food products. Its development is also linked to the development of the agricultural and animal sector since it is the main source of raw materials for food industry.
According to the National Information Center, “food industries in Yemen account for the largest proportion of the total production of manufacturing industries. These industries constitute the highest percentage in the value of manufacturing industrial production. Construction industries, such as cement, come second. Tobacco products come third. They are followed by formed minerals, and then clothing. This distribution reflects the weak production base and its lack of diversity. Most facilities specialize in the manufacture of food products”.
Production of Raw Materials
Geology in Yemen is characterized by a unique “raw materials” diversity. It includes all types of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks that are found in many Yemeni governorates.
Livestock, marine and agricultural wealth are also part of the raw materials on which the food industry mainly depends. Its availability on a large scale has helped to invest and set up factories in the country. The arable area in Yemen is 1,539,006 hectares. The cultivated area is about 1,241,387 hectares (i.e. 81%). The average agricultural holding is 1,155,457 hectares, according to the National Information Center.
The National Information Center stated that the livestock sector in Yemen is an important economic resource in addition to its role in reviving the food industry sector. It is a major source of income for the majority of rural families. A large proportion of rural agricultural families depend on this wealth to provide for their living needs. The sector also contributes to many industrial food derivatives.
The lawyer, Magdi Bou Abes, Acting Director General of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Hadhramout Governorate, ruled out the possibility of self-sufficiency in industrial products in the local market currently. This is because locally made products are expensive due to their high quality and cost of production. On the other hand, the imported products are of low quality and their market price is acceptable to the economically exhausted citizens.
He added in his statement to “Sawt Al-Amal” that the living situation of Yemeni people forced them to look for imported goods as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country. Such products are available in abundance in the local market and their prices are competitive with Yemeni products.
“The international agreements signed by the Yemeni government with World Trade Organizations and common global markets require Yemen to open its borders to foreign products. That is why self-sufficiency of locally manufactured goods cannot be achieved”, Bou Abes added.
When he was asked about how to achieve self-sufficiency in food industries in local markets, Bou Abess replied: “the state must intervene to limit flooding foreign products in the local market under the pretext of protecting the local product. It must also exempt the taxes of raw materials imported from abroad for the industrial sector and reduce fees and contribute to doubling production and reducing the cost of selling to local markets.
Fawzi bin Qassem, the professor of economics at the Commercial Technical Institute in Mukalla, Hadhramout Governorate, said: “Yemen’s self-sufficiency lies in monitoring and tracking products of all sectors. This will motivate many factories to increase production, pump new national investments, and launch production lines to meet market supply demands.
In his statement to “Sawt Al-Amal”, Qassem noted that the Ministry of Industry and Trade should support prominent and successful factories, and encourage national production to meet local needs. He stressed that self-sufficiency can be measured by comparing the national production of all food industries to the total domestic consumption.
“The Yemeni government should establish a set of mechanisms that aim to benefit from the infrastructure and strategic sites for industrialization”, he added.
The Success Story of Al-Qarn Factory as a Model
The engineer, Bassem Mahrous, director of Al-Qarn Industrial Complex, said that the factory was launched in 2012 in Mukalla, Hadhramout Governorate. It produces various food, plastic and paper products.
According to the director’s statement to “Sawt Al-Amal”, crackers, a type of baby food made of flour, were produced in Al-Qarn Complex, at the beginning of its construction. At that time, there were only two packing machines with a production capacity of 750 units. Each unit contained 40 small sachets, weighing 10 grams. All that work was done on one shift.
Crackers Production at Al-Qarn Complex
He also added that during the development of the factory in recent years and with the increase in the local market’s demand for the product, the factory’s productivity increased. The factory now owns four packing machines with a production capacity of 3000 units per shift. The factory is currently working on two shifts.
Mahrous confirmed that the manufactured crackers product covers the needs of the market in the governorates of Hadhramout, Al-Sahel and Al-Wadi, Shabwah, Abyan, Aden, Lahij, and Ma’rib. He explained that the factory’s future plan aims to cover the local market in all governorates of Yemen. It also aims to develop the factory for the purpose of exporting its products abroad.
The industrial sector in Yemen, like other economic sectors, has been affected by the raging conflict in the country. This, in turn, has negatively affected its production and operational capabilities.
In June, 2022, a study, carried out by the “Chamber of Commerce”, showed a decline in the employment rate of manpower in the sector, and the layoff of part of the workforce that was employed before the conflict. It is estimated that the number of workers in the private industrial sector decreased from about 241,000 workers in 2013 to less than 190,000 workers in 2015, before returning to a limited increase to about 217,000 workers in 2020.
51% of the Respondents Affirm the Significant Impact of Small and Medium-sized Industries on the Local Economy
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