Yemen’s Food Prices Soar as Saudi Blockade Limits Imports

Transport costs make even basic foods unaffordable far from the coast

Four years into the Saudi War in Yemen, the invasion has turned the poorest country in the Middle East into one constantly on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe. This is in no small part driven by a Saudi naval blockade, which has severely limited food imports.

In the past year, food imports were down some 60% from pre-war levels. Given that Yemen, before the war, had to import about 90% of its food, there isn’t exactly a way for locals to get around this lack of imports.

Locals in the capital city of Sanaa say that the prices there have soared, both because of the shortage of supplies, and the high transportation costs for getting foods from the port city of Hodeidah into the capital.

“Many people cannot afford to buy a kilogram of tomatoes,” noted the local vegetable shop owner. That may not sound like much in and of itself, but millions of people are seemingly always just a slightly worse supply problem away from mass famine.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.