Activists in Yemen encourage the youths to leave chewing Qat

National Yemen

Singers of Freinds Without Qat

National Yemen Staff

Two Yemeni youth musicians held a concert in Sana’a city on [need the day] that was unusual because it did not involve chewing Qat. The concert’s organizers plan on expanding a campaign against chewing Qat, which has many negative effects in Yemen.

Activists Hind al-Eryani said that “we have decided to create an organization named Friends Without Qat, where we gather all people who don’t chew Qat to make them know each other, and in each time they meet  in a different place.” She added that the aim of this club is to create a society for those who don’t chew Qat.

According to the World Bank, one from seven workers works in production and distribution Qat inside the country, which makes it the main source of income in rural areas in Yemen. It is the second main source of jobs after agriculture and grazing sectors , and public sector as well. Additionally, Qat is a major source of income for Yemeni elites, whether in tribal areas, or among senior officers and politicians.    

Friends Without Qat is one among many initiatives happened in the last years in order to raise the national profile of the Qat problem and force government action. According to the World Health Organization, it has many negative health effects. Qat affects psychology through disorders like depression, and also leads to high blood pressure, tooth decay, constipation, hemorrhoids, and hallucinations.

Polls show that 80% at least of men, 60% of women, and a growing number of children under the age of ten chew Qat, usually in the afternoon. However, activists are ambitious about their ability to eradicate Qat from Yemeni society, even if it takes a great deal of time. Qat has been a part of Yemeni society for centuries, and has become an integral feature of many social and economic interactions.

1 Comment

  • Given the wondrous taste of Yemini black grapes and the potential for wine (and juice) exports, a commercial solution for the Qat problem might be encouraging grape juice and associated exports?