Yemen - Farmers resting after collecting their crop, very few farmers have not switched to qat as it is much more profitable than any other crop. Yemen’s economy depends heavily on oil production, and its government receives the vast majority of its revenue from oil taxes. Yet analysts predict that the country’s petroleum output, which has declined over the last seven years, will fall to zero by 2017. The government has done little to plan for its post-oil future. Yemen’s population, already the poorest on the Arabian peninsula and with an unemployment rate of 35%, is expected to double by 2035.
The trends will exacerbated large and growing environmental problems, including the exhaustion of Yemen’s groundwater resources. Given that a full 90% of the country’s water is used for agriculture, this trend portends disaster.
Sanaa’s well are expected to dry out by 2015, partly due to illegal drilling, partly because 40% of the city’s water is diverted for qat production, and partly because conservation rules are difficult to enforce. Only 20% of the houses receive water, the other 80% has to collect it from pumps and wells. 15% of the urban population only uses bottled water as its primary drinking water source and that is why Yemen has one of the highest world mortality rate, most of the diseases being related to water.