urgent solutions are needed to avert food import shortages and a new humanitarian crisis in Yemen
from Yemen largest company and leading wheat importer warns of impending mass starvation in Yemen – caused by soaring world wheat prices, major supply disruptions and rapidly dwindling stocks across the country
DUBAIWATER, May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — HSA Group – from Yemen largest company and leading wheat importer in the country – has issued a stark warning that time is running out to prevent a potentially catastrophic famine from spreading across Yemenfollowing an unprecedented disruption of global wheat supplies caused by the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine.
World wheat prices are expected to rise further due to India’s wheat export ban which came into effect just two days ago. Without urgent action, the latest developments have the potential to push from Yemen ongoing food security crisis to the point of no return. Yemen needs extraordinary measures to maintain an uninterrupted supply of this daily staple to communities and aid programs before it is too late for hundreds of thousands of people.
The HSA Group has written to international community leaders expressing alarm that hundreds of thousands of Yemenis across the country are on the verge of extreme starvation within months, in light of escalating prices world wheat markets, dwindling wheat stocks in the country and the declining purchasing power of the Yemeni private sector which is preventing sufficient supplies of essential foodstuffs from entering the country.
The company called on the international community to put in place emergency mechanisms to avoid a new humanitarian crisis, such as the creation of a special import financing fund that would allow from Yemen wheat importers to quickly access financing and working capital to finance wheat purchases on the world market and cover the high cost of importing food into Yemen; and extended payment terms for Yemeni food importers in their dealings with international suppliers, to secure and enforce commercial contracts that are essential to ensure a steady supply of food to Yemen.
The conflict in Ukraine sent huge shock waves through global commodity markets, affecting wheat supplies in particular. Global wheat prices recently hit a 14-year high, which is already having massive consequences for suppliers and manufacturers around the world.
Yemen buys about a third of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia. The loss of such a large share of the country’s source of wheat, which communities already on the brink of starvation rely on to produce daily staples, such as bread, will exacerbate the effects of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
from Yemen The private sector plays a vital role in ensuring the country’s food security and is responsible for the vast majority of food imports in Yemenwhich represent 90% of from Yemen total food supply and upon which Yemeni communities depend. These imports are distributed and sold to consumers throughout the country and, importantly, also supply international humanitarian aid operations, such as those run by the World Food Program (WFP). Without the Yemeni private sector, these essential programs, which fed up to 13 million people per month in 2021 (WFP), could not operate at the scale required to respond to the current humanitarian catastrophe.
The wheat crisis aggravates the effects of from Yemen food security crisis – minimum food basket price increasing dramatically Yemen over the past year and up to 119% in some parts of the country (WFP). Yemen is facing the prospect of affordable food prices and global supply chain challenges on a scale never seen before.
HSA Group therefore called for immediate international intervention to avert another humanitarian catastrophe in the coming months, proposing that international and regional organizations explore innovative solutions to ensure that sufficient supplies of wheat reach Yemeni communities, such as:
- giving from Yemen wheat importers have priority access to wheat supplies on international markets, to ensure that communities most at risk of famine or extreme hunger receive sufficient food and that international humanitarian programs can continue to operate.
- Given the significant devaluation of the Yemeni riyal against the US dollar, the urgent establishment of a special emergency fund and a program to finance imports specific to Yemenwhich will allow from Yemen wheat importers to quickly access financing and working capital to finance wheat purchases on the world market and imports into Yemen. This could include an import financing facility for Yemen supported by an international institution, or the use of blended financing solutions backed by first loss guarantees for Yemeni importers through import financing agreements.
- A new system that officially extends payment terms between Yemeni food importers and their international suppliers to a standardized period of 60 days, which is guaranteed by an international organization or financial institution.
Nabil Hayel Said AnamManaging Director of the HSA Group, Yemen region said:
“HSA Group has operated through Yemen for 85 years, during which we have witnessed first-hand the tragic consequences of conflict and humanitarian disasters.
“During this current period of global uncertainty, HSA has taken steps to ensure access to basic commodities so that we can continue to provide affordable food and essential goods to the people of Yemen. This includes the use of our $75 million loan agreement with the International Finance Corporation, which allowed us to quickly mobilize working capital in the face of rising wheat prices to ensure sufficient supplies of this daily staple for Yemen.
“However, this is not sustainable and time is running out. Further increases in world wheat prices will leave the ability of the private sector to provide essential supplies to the Yemeni people and international humanitarian programs on the edge.
“Without urgent action, there is an immediate and definitive risk that we cannot prevent a wave of extreme hunger from engulfing the country and pushing hundreds of thousands of people into starvation.
“Desperate times call for bold action. We stand ready to work hand in hand with our international and regional partners to help put in place emergency mechanisms to respond to from Yemen food security crisis that will allow the private sector to access and finance wheat imports immediately. In the meantime, HSA Group will continue to do everything in its power to support the Yemeni people. But, working alone, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to avert disaster in the months to come.”
About HSA Group
HSA Group is a family conglomerate established in Yemen in 1938 and is today one of the largest multinational companies based in the Middle East.
The HSA group is from Yemen largest company and through its 50+ operating companies in Yemenit manufactures and provides essential goods and services to multinational organizations and communities, both in Yemen and throughout the MENA region. The company meets the needs of millions of Yemeni, local and international businesses every day. Its wide-ranging businesses include: producing market-leading food and beverage brands, household items and essential health items; manufacture of a wide range of industrial and building materials; supply of motor vehicles; and provide insurance and financial services to Yemen.
Throughout its nearly 85-year history, HSA Group has taken a values-driven approach to sustainable growth. The company is driven by the philosophy established by its founders: the conviction to do well by doing good. The company’s values value and reward compassion, concern for others and community spirit, guiding how it works with its employees, partners and the societies it serves around the world.
Additional data and resources
Yemen suffers from a severe food security crisis and the threat of extreme hunger and life-threatening malnutrition in Yemen has deteriorated further this year. According to the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) data:
- 17.4 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, and 19 million will be from June until the end of 2022.
- 31,000 people are currently facing extreme levels of hunger, and the UN estimates this will rapidly worsen over the coming month, with 161,000 people facing extreme levels of hunger by June.
- About 2.2 million children under the age of five in Yemen expected to suffer from acute malnutrition and more than half a million (538,000) children from severe malnutrition in 2022.
- According to projections, around 1.3 million pregnant and lactating women will suffer from acute malnutrition in the year 2022.
World Food Programme, Food Security Quarterly Review – Q4 2021 (year in review)
Integrated food security phase classification, Yemen: Overview of food security and nutrition, March 2022