International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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The Role of Agricultural Extention in Desertification Combating

Taha Yasin Aladimi

Faculty of Agriculture, Sana’a University, Yemen


Yemen is suffering from desertification mainly as a result of its geographical situation in the semiarid lands which known with less rainfalls and Scarcity of fresh waters. High rates of population increase, poverty, unemployment, Literacy and immigration are essential factors leading to more desertification, since more population increase necessarily means more demands push on environmental resources, especially for water and firewood. In addition, low rates of development and unemployment limit the man power and society activities to the field of agriculture and raising animals which cause more stress on environmental resources, especially ground water.

Depletion of ground water in many basins ended with dry lands and deserted areas. Heavy loads of sheep and goats on pastures and extra cuts for trees and shrubs for firewood also converted forests, green lands and mountains to deserts. Immigration of manpower from rural areas resulted in abandoned agricultural lands, especially the terraces. Abandoned terraces are a big loss for many environmental functions of terraces such as: water harvest, recharge of ground water and protecting the lower agricultural lands in valleys.
Agricultural and extension education has a lot of prospective and important roles in combating desertification:

  • Create awareness among farmers about desertification hazards to environment, humans, and biodiversity
  • Clarifying bad behaviors and wrong practices of farmers and rural people against the environmental resources
  • Guiding farmers to methods of ideal use for environmental resources to attain sustainability
  • Identifying farmers with legislations related to digging of ground water wells and water rights, explain the benefits of commitment to legislations which aims to preserve water sustainability
  • Introducing modern irrigation technology to farmers, explain its benefits in saving water, time and effort. Encourage farmers to adopt this technology and train them how to use it
  • Reveal indigenous knowledge related to devices of restoring seasonal rainfalls water for drinking and other uses in dry seasons
  • Reveal versions in Holly Qura'an and Hadith related to water savings among farmers
  • Reveal indigenous knowledge related to grazing rotations in natural pastures, essentially known as public laws or traditions, which support sustainability
  • Introducing new crops authorized by research stations as crops with less needs for irrigation water
  • Create awareness among farmers about the importance of agricultural terraces and their multiple benefits which are functioning as water harvest device, recharge ground water and protect lower agricultural lands from erosion caused by running floods during rainfall seasons.
  • Encourage rural people to replant forests, mountains, villages and around their fields. Create awareness about the benefits of green areas and the alternative relations between green areas, forests and rainfalls.