>> Pomegranates may seem insignificant, but they're helping to explain why Yemen's Civil War has led millions of people to the brink of starvation. Exports of the fruit have historically been a key source of income for people in Sa'dah, in the northwest of the country. That province is now under the control of the Houthi movement, aligned with Iran.
Before the war began in 2015, farmers exported 30,000 tons of the fruit. But that's fallen sharply since the war started.>>
> Farmers blame the lack of fuel and water for irrigation, as well as the impact of aerial bombing by a coalition force led by Saudi Arabia and backed by arms from western nations.
Markets and roads have been targeted in strikes. That's made it far more dangerous and more expensive to get pomegranates to the country's main port in Hodeidah. The Saudi-led coalition is fighting to restore the internationally recognized government that was ousted by the Houthis. While countless bombs have fallen on civilian areas, they deny targeting civilians deliberately.
But stringent measures have been put in place on imports into Yemen too, that slow trade flows as well as vital supplies such as fuel, medicine and humanitarian aid. The United Nations now say three quarters of Yemen's population or 22 million people require aid, and more than 8 million are on the brink of starvation.
The UN is attempting to break the talks to end the war. But in the interim, they say the key to reducing the risk of famine is not charity but improving the economy. Exports of the humble pomegranate could be a small part of the answer.