Ongoing Food Crisis in Yemen: Mission for HSA Group to Save its People from Starvation
Yemen’s Largest Company’s Mission: Delivering Food to the World’s Hungry Despite Russian Black Sea Blockade
According to UN reports, over 17.4 million people in Yemen are facing food insecurity, and an additional 1.6 million are predicted to face emergency levels of hunger in the upcoming months. This is expected to bring the total number of people requiring emergency assistance to 7.3 million by the end of the year.
Yemen’s largest company, HSA Group, is on a mission to feed the world’s hungriest by skirting the Russian blockade of Ukraine’s food exports. Yemen, a country that relies on imports for 90% of its food, has been hit hard by the unprovoked war in Ukraine, which has severely pinched the world supply of grain and cooking oil, causing prices to soar.
The situation has left more than 17.4 million Yemenis food insecure, and an additional 1.6 million are expected to fall into emergency levels of hunger in the coming months. HSA Group, a multibillion-dollar, family-owned agribusiness conglomerate, is helping to address this crisis by importing grain to Yemen, where it is sorely needed. However, the company faces many challenges, and it takes a lot of effort and work to get food to those who need it most.
The Yemen Company for Flour Mills and Silos (YCFMS), the largest food processing and grain storage company in Yemen, is using a fleet of ships to skirt the Russian Black Sea blockade in order to import wheat to feed Yemen’s population, which is facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises due to years of conflict. The company’s chairman, Abdulkarim Al-Eryani, stated that the blockade has made it difficult for Yemen to import food, fuel, and medical supplies, and the country is now dependent on imports from other countries such as Ukraine, Brazil, and Argentina.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen has made it extremely difficult for the world’s hungriest to feed themselves, and Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s food exports has only made things worse. This has led to a global supply shortage of grain and cooking oil, with prices rising sharply.
However, Yemen’s largest grain importer, HSA Group, remains committed to helping the country’s people by sourcing enough grain from new trade routes out of India, Romania, and France. HSA’s competitors have abandoned Yemen due to the war’s devastation, but the family-owned conglomerate continues to operate there, despite the challenges. The company’s efforts are critical to feed millions of Yemenis who are food insecure, and prevent famine and migration to neighboring countries.
According to Al-Eryani, the company has been forced to take longer routes to avoid the Russian blockade and has been using ships that are not registered under Yemeni or international flags to avoid detection. The ships have been traveling through the Mediterranean Sea and around the coast of Africa before arriving in Yemen, adding significant costs to the imports.
To combat rising malnutrition after the civil war erupted, HSA changed some of the ingredients in its signature biscuits to increase the nutritional value, in partnership with the World Health Organization. The company also invests a large portion of its earnings back into Yemen, where it employs 20,000 people, and at least 46 HSA employees have died since the civil war started.
However, the situation in Yemen is too big for any one company to tackle on its own. The ongoing civil war has caused significant damage to infrastructure, and famine is spreading. The United Nations has not been able to raise enough money to provide adequate aid, and the World Food Programme has had to cut back on the amount it can spend on Yemen as humanitarian crises worsen in other countries. Of the 13 million in Yemen facing acute hunger, 5 million exist in what’s classified as an “emergency” situation or, the worst-possible scenario: famine. Another 8 million are in “crisis,” and will start to receive reduced rations in July.
The UN says that over the course of several years, the number of people “marching to starvation” around the world has ballooned to 323 million from 80 million, with 49 million people in 43 countries at risk of famine.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, and the conflict has exacerbated food insecurity in the country. According to the United Nations, more than 20 million Yemenis are food insecure, with about 5 million of them facing famine-like conditions. The conflict has also led to the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, including its food production facilities and transportation networks, exacerbating the crisis.