libyaLibya is located in North Africa on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, with about 1,770 kilometer long coastline. Its capital is Tripoli, and the country’s population is more than six million. Much of Libya is covered by an extremely arid desert, where very high temperatures prevail and rain is a rare phenomenon. The major source of Libya’s foreign earnings is its oil sector, constituting about 80 percent of the national GDP and about 97 percent of the exports.  Libya is known for its lengthy and costly but unique Great Man-Made River project that was initiated years ago, with the objective of transporting underground water from the southern desert aquifers to the northern area which has fertile soils, and where most of the country’s population lives.

Context

Context

Libya was under UN sanctions for seven years, which were lifted only in 2002. A bloody civil war and ensuing international armed intervention in 2011 changed a 42-year old regime as well as the national flag. The country is divided into 22 administrative districts (baladiayat).

The agriculture was considered as an important economic sector in Libya until the oil was discovered in the early 1960s. The oil export suddenly became the major driving force for the country’s economy, dwarfing the government’s interest in developing the agricultural sector, which resulted in enormous food imports. Lately, more attention is being given to agriculture due to increasing threats of food insecurity. A large number of foreign laborers, who had been living in Libya for years, have left the country due to armed crisis, affecting the agricultural production.

The only arable land of Libya is located along the Mediterranean coast, in the eastern region. Cereals, fodder crops and some fruits are grown in the relatively small rain-fed area while the coastal, irrigated area is devoted to the cultivation of vegetables (potatoes, onion, tomatoes), fruits (watermelons, oranges, dates, grapes, olives), and cereals (wheat, barley). Most of the farms are small, ranging from five to 20 hectares in size. A trend to move from subsistence to mechanized farming has been observed. Fisheries and livestock (mainly sheep and goat but also camels, cows and poultry) are important economic sub-sectors. Almost all agricultural institutions have been subjected to significant government control and interventions for many years.

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

155,850

8.85

1,750,000

0.99

0.28

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)

40.26

2009

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

1.86

111.22

-0-

12.13

2008

2011

2010

2010

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

12,930

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

89.20

99.82

99.93

99.88

117.63

2010

2010

2010

2010

2006

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

155.69

16.99

2011

2011

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

6,154,623

3.46

1,359,740

22.09

193,000

2,300,237

71,000

3.08

70.42

2012

2011

2012

2012

2010

2011

2010

2010

2010

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (September 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson

 

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