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Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement Program (SAPEP)

$36 million to strengthen community land and water management as well as enhance access to animal health services, higher value crops, and microenterprise.
Photo: Tomas Sennett


Since early 2011, Yemen has passed through a period of political uncertainty and economic disruption which has significantly worsened the already grave food security situation. It is estimated that 17 million (close to 60% of the population) are food insecure, making this the largest food security emergency in the world. In 2012, about half of the population did not have enough food, and 45% of households purchased food on credit. The vast majority of Yemenis – 6.4 million people – live in rural areas, with two thirds of all Yemen’s food insecure living in dry highland areas. The agriculture sector produces about 12.6% of GDP (2012), and is the main source of income for 73% of the population – either directly (33%) or indirectly through the services and industries that are connected to the agricultural economy. Most farms are extremely small and household farm incomes are typically very low. Over the last few decades, agricultural productivity has been stagnating and water availability is declining.


The project increases the adoption and use of productivity-enhancing crop and livestock practices by smallholders in targeted project areas. This is carried out through community subproj-ects and investments that protect land and water assets, contributing to crop and livestock productivity. SAPREP is being implemented in-country by FAO and the Yemen Social Development Fund. It is expected that about 630,000 people will directly benefit from SAPREP investments, subprojects and services, of whom at least 30 percent will be women. The project includes several activities and subprojects that contribute to its outcomes. First, community land and water management such as use of terraces, the construction of water-harvesting structures, and small-scale irrigation subprojects will reduce water consumption. Livestock production improvements such as expansion of the availability and reach of community animal health workers, improved livestock feeding, and support to community-based activities such as beekeeping will improve yields and nutrition. Community-based research and extension will introduce or expand improved rainfed staples, ensure higher nutrition content, and provide higher-value crops through village seed banks, demonstration plots, and the production of agricultural inputs such as locally adapted seeds for higher-productivity cereals cultivation. Finally, the project provide value addition to support community cooperatives and associations engaged in business development, horticulture marketing, sales of improved livestock products, and other activities that improve the value of agricultural products.

Project Status



  • Republic of Yemen



Focus area

  • Fragility

Supervising entity

  • World Bank


Despite the extraordinarily challenging environment, SAPREP has made satisfactory progress with the implementation of the project activities. More than 106,000 (97% of planned) rural households were reached with the project support activities. These include 59,640 households provided with startup packages to re-engage in crop and livestock production. This number has exceeded the original target by seventy percent. About 13,150 farmers (132% achievement) adopted improved agricultural technologies provided by the project. The project beneficiaries continue to express high levels of satisfaction with the project investments which resulted in increased production, incomes and self-reliance.  

The project interventions have generated temporary jobs, improved access to services and helps to mitigate additional hardship created by COVID-19. As of December 2020, 80 of 107 approved subprojects for Rehabilitation of community water infrastructure have been completed. The remaining 27 are under implementation. Irrigation water supply improved in the area of 6,913 ha (115% of planned), and some 85 percent of the targeted number of households already benefit from rehabilitation works. The number of direct beneficiaries of wage employment is 11,634 supporting a total of 6,700 households. The ongoing or completed subprojects include rehabilitation of 42 ha of terraces; rehabilitation/construction of check dikes and gabions serving and protecting about 1,977 ha; rehabilitation of 143 shallow wells and springs, and 2,765 rooftop and other household level water-harvesting facilities, and excavation of 15 ponds.   

Activities aimed at support of animal husbandry and livestock production have been almost completed and they included the provision of equipment to 143 farmer groups and the distribution of improved forage seeds and feed blocks to all targeted 14,200 farmers. In addition, 18 private sector operators are supported by the project to establish a feed block production base.  With regards to veterinary support activities, 84 Community Animal Health Workers have been trained and equipped and they provide veterinary services in remote areas. The animal vaccination campaign has been completed but with scaled down coverage due to the changes in the implementation modalities and time constraints due to the expiration of vaccines.   

All targeted 6,700 dairy farmers and honey producers have been provided with equipment and production inputs through project support to dairy and honey value chains.  Some 1,400 horticulture producers have been provided with production inputs and training, and are already reporting sizeable increase in yields, area planted and farm profits. Five nurseries have been established and started their operations, the work on the establishment of three post-harvest collection centers and ten women processing groups is advancing.  


Rufiz Vakhid Chirag-Zade
Senior Agribusiness Specialist & Task Team Leader