Sana'a- Mar 2, 2011- Yemen plans to increase qat taxes by 200 per cent this year, take qat markets outside the main cities and activate the decisions banning chewing qat at governmental institutions, the News Yemen cited an official document as saying on Wednesday.
The move comes as the country is determined to combat the expanding cultivation of qat within the efforts to meet the millennium goals 2011-2015, mainly focussed on reducing extreme poverty.
The document titled 'the fast track approach to meet the MDGs' said that within the interventions to limit qat cultivation which affects other crops, the government has plans to prevent qat inside the main cities and to raise awareness among the people about negatives of chewing and planting qat.
To make this very practical, the government will build human capacities, provide jobs and allow financial resources to enable the people to launch businesses that can contribute to combating qat which analysts say consumes between 30-40 per cent of the country's scarce water resources, it added.
Analysts also said that qat trees are occupying the largest portion of Yemen's arable land.
More than 70 per cent of the Yemeni males and more than 40 females chew qat on daily bases and spend almost two thirds of their monthly salaries on it.
In addition to its economic effects, Qat has health effects on chewers topped by mouth cancer and those caused by pesticides used to make qat grow faster.
The document also highlighted other objectives including the reduction of unemployment rates, boosting food security, and expanding food production and small and micro enterprises financing programmes, with the rural areas to receive a special attention.
Source: Yemen Post