The curse of khat
Is Yemen a nation under the influence of drugs?
Narcotic khat leaves are part of everyday life; the entire country slows down each afternoon as people young and old chew the leaves to gain a legal high.
In the markets of the capital Sana’a, Fouad Hady finds rows of stalls selling bags of the leaves, while in the countryside entire farms have been given over to growing them.
According to some estimates, the amount of locally grown food has dropped from 95% to just 8% in recent decades, alongside a worrying drop in the water table to irrigate the growing plants.
As well as economic and environmental concerns, opponents are also highlighting the social effects, with increased illness and dependence even among children.