Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen

February 16, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Mary de Lavalette for this article.
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Even as drought kills off Yemen’s crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.

Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long.

“They tell us it’s because the water table is sinking so fast,” said Muhammad Hamoud Amer, a worn-looking farmer who has lost two-thirds of his peach trees to drought in the past two years. “Every year we have to drill deeper and deeper to get water.”

For full article, visit:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009


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