Scraping a living: Salt offers women lifeline in Yemen


Scooping up handfuls of white crystals from coastal swimming pools, a group of women in Yemen harvest salt – a conventional business proving to be a lifeline after seven years of battle.

Zakiya Obeid is one amongst almost 500 women who work in the business in a village overlooking the Gulf of Aden, on Yemen’s southern coast.

“We cooperate and take shifts as a result of it’s a sisterhood and we all know every others’ tough circumstances,” Obeid informed AFP.

Employment is so scarce that the women work in rotation to permit extra folks to learn. She stated the women are divided into two teams, with every working for 15 days whereas the others relaxation.

In naked ft and mud-spattered abaya robes, the women dig basins at low tide and return when the seawater has evaporated to dredge up the salt for packaging and promoting.

The time-honoured livelihood has been handed down from era to era.

It is now a technique of survival, offering many households with their solely supply of revenue. The women earn about US$100 (RM418) per thirty days for harvesting the salt and packing it in plastic containers.

Since the formation of the Al Hassi Association for Sea Salt Production in 2020, the women are capable of transport the salt to be floor, packaged and bought throughout Yemen.

“Before then, we used to do the identical work however may solely promote the salt uncooked,” Obeid stated. “But that’s now not the case, with the affiliation offering us with luggage and transport.”

The traditional salt industry is proving to be a lifeline for Yemeni women. The conventional salt business is proving to be a lifeline for Yemeni women.

‘Only supply of revenue’

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil battle between the federal government – supported by a Saudi-led navy coalition – and Iran-backed Huthi rebels since 2014, pushing the nation to the brink of famine.

The battle has killed a whole lot of hundreds of individuals and left thousands and thousands displaced, in response to the UN, which calls it the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The head of the Al Hassi Association, Khamis Bahtroush, stated the women, who produce between 20-30 tonnes of salt each three months, have come to depend on this business.

“Production is decrease in winter than in summer time,” he stated. “Each bag is bought for about 3,000 Yemeni rials (RM50)… however we’re battling inflation and should not have liquidity to present them raises.

“This is their solely supply of revenue… they don’t have anything else. No farms, no livestock.”

The United Nations Population Fund has stated the lack of male breadwinners in the battle has added to the difficulties confronted by women.

“The strain is much more extreme the place women or ladies immediately discover themselves liable for offering for his or her households after they themselves have been disadvantaged of primary training or vocational coaching,” it stated. – AFP

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