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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


To date, 4,270 poor people have benefitted from the project, of whom about 40 percent have been women. Based on a needs assessment survey, which identified priority interventions, 47,333 farmers received staple seeds, backyard poultry, and small ruminants packages, 4,000 farmers have been provided with improved forage seeds, and 8,260 households have benefited from the rehabilitation of community water infrastructure. The water infrastructure activities are implemented as labor-intensive subprojects either through community contracting or cash-for-works mechanisms. The project has delivered equipment to enhance animal husbandry practices to livestock owner groups accompanied by training and vaccines for about 4.9 million animals.


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

Work with Us

The Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP) is dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in low-income countries by supporting resilient and sustainable agricultural systems that benefit and empower poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers. Since its inception in 2010, GAFSP has received contributions totaling $1.7 billion from Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with funds going to countries that have strategic, innovative, and credible plans already in place to improve agricultural productivity and food security.

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