Kit Weaver
Last updated: 3 September, 2012

A country addicted to qat

Yemen is a nation fondly nurturing an addiction to qat, a green leafy plant whose mildly stimulating properties have placed ritualistic chewing at the centre of social life. Qat is often denigrated, however, and not without good reason.

It is a particularly thirsty plant in a notoriously dry country, and many hungry families devote to qat a sizeable portion of their income. The qat markets daily bustle with activity as both men and women of all ages stock up to spend the afternoons in discussion, chewing big green wads for hours at a time.

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