Category Archives: Agriculture

Burrowes on Al-Eryani

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Abd al-Karim was one of my two best Yemeni friends (the other being his nephew, Abd al-Ghani), the man who taught me the most of what I know about Yemeni politics, and in my opinion the most important political force in Yemeni politics over the past generation.  He founded and shaped the old Central Planning Organization (CPO) in the mid-1970s, designed the multi-step process that led to the creation of the GPC and the consolidation of the Salih regime in the early 1980s, orchestrated the unification of Yemen and creation of the Republic of Yemen in 1990, negotiating the final border agreement with Saudi Arabia in 2000, and helped engineer the transition from the 30-years-old Salih regime in 2011.  Did anyone do half as much over this 35-year period? May this great Yemeni rest in peace.

Robert Burrowes, University of Washington, emeritus

A Hadrami date basket

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صناعة محلية %100
الخُبَر … جمع خُبْرَة وهي لفظة مستعملة عند حرفيي حَضْرموت، وهي عبارةٌ عن زنِبيلٍ مصنوعٍ من السَعَف يستخدم لحفظ التمور في النخيل قبل قطعه. وتسمى عملية وضع التمر إذا بدت عليه علامات النضج في الخُبْرَة بعملية القَنَامة. وتتميز الخُبْرَة بشكلها الجميل الذي يشبه إلى حدٍ كبيرِ شكل الخُف أو قارب الصيد فهي تتكون من جناحين متجافيين, طرفها الأول مفتوح وطرفها الآخر بيضاوي الشكل، وتقسَّم الخُبَر حسب حجمها إلى خمسة أنواع رئيسيةٍ … العُقدة وهو أكبرها حجماً، يأتي بعده كبير الحُوطة، فكبير سيئون، ثم الرُّبع الشافي وأخيراً الربع الصغير. وتعد صناعة الخُبَر من الصناعات الخُوصية التي تحتاج إلى خبرةٍ في إعدادها، فهناك خطواتٌ عمليةٌ خاصةٌ تحتاج إلى فنٍ وإتقان.

courtesy of Dr. Mohammaed Jarhoom

Yemen’s Grape Harvest

grapes1Photograph courtesy of Dr. Muhammad Gerhoum

Amidst the suffering that continues unabated in Yemen, it still remains a land famous for its bountiful fruits, especially the many varieties of grapes.  The early Muslim geographer Ibn Rusta stated that there were 70 varieties of grapes in Yemen in his day.  There are still many varieties, especially raziqi, ‘asami, aswad and biyadh. Grapes ripen in the northern highlands of Yemen during the hot period of jahr and are plentiful in June and July in the southern highlands.

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Photograph courtesy of Dr. Muhammad Gerhoum

Water still matters

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Cistern at Saraha, al-Ahjur in 1985
Photograph by D. M. Varisco

There is a new report out on water management in Yemen.  At a time when the spilling of blood takes obvious priority over the lingering water supply crisis, it is still useful to consider the environmental danger on top of the political quagmire…

The Political Economy of Water Management in Yemen: Conflict Analysis and Recommendations

An acute water crisis looms over Yemen which suffers intense water scarcity. To address this problem, The Hague Institute published a report detailing the political economy of water conflicts in Yemen. The report, Commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Yemen offers insights and recommendations to address the threat of conflict from water related issues.

Yemen’s Agricultural Marker Stars

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The Yemeni scholar Yahya al-Ansi

No scholar in Yemen has done more to document and explain the rich tradition of Yemen’s indigenous knowledge on the stars and agricultural seasons than Yahya al-Ansi.  In addition to several published volumes, he has also created charts of the 28 المعالم الزراعية (agricultural marker stars). He was instrumental in founding the Astronomical Society of Yemen, which has a Facebook page. One of his latest contributions is a chart explaining these stars with their scientific identification.  This can be found here or by going to the Facebook group site, which is worth surfing.

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AIYS is pleased to provide support for Yahya al-Ansi to continue his publishing work.