Agriculture in LibyaLibya is a country located in North Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the north, Egypt to the East, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west and Tunisia to the northwest. Most of the country lies in the Sahara Desert, while much of its population is concentred along the coast and in its immediate hinterland. Libya comprises three historical regions: Tripolitania in the west (where the capital Tripoli is located, along the Mediterranean coast), Cyrenaica in the east (where Benghazi, the second largest city, is located) and Fezzan in the south (which includes Sebha and Al Khalij areas). Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has a mix of semi-arid and arid climatic conditions. Rainfall is very limited and its volume and distribution vary from year to year, primarily along the coastline. Consequently, agriculture is primarily dependent on irrigation. Groundwater represents the main source of water supply. Despite the relatively small contribution of agriculture to Libya’s GDP - less around 2% in 2021 - the percentage of Libyans engaged in some form of agricultural production remains large, at 22 percent. Agricultural production is constrained by geography: only about 12 percent of the total area of 15.4 million hectares is arable. Although 470 000 hectares are suitable for irrigation, only some 240 000 hectares are currently irrigated due to concerns over the depletion of underground water. Arable land is under threat, as rapid urbanisation eats up the fertile strip along the Mediterranean coast. Barley, wheat and vegetable/leguminous products (tomatoes, onions, beans, etc.) remain the main crops cultivated in the country . Further crops include fruit trees (dates, citrus, olives, figs, and grapes) and other crops such as alfalfa and clover, generally used as fodder, melons and aromatic plants.
Nationally, 12 percent of households are engaged in livestock production, with the highest proportions observed in Sebha (50 percent), Wadi Ashshati (40 percent) and Al Jabal al Akhdar (31 percent). Livestock production predominates in some areas of the interior of the country, while it is less common along the more urbanized coast. Small ruminants are the most common livestock holdings in a majority of mantikas, with sheep being most frequent, followed by goats. In most locations, a majority of households involved in livestock production own fewer than 10 small ruminants (sheep and goats), although larger herd sizes (more than 50 animals) are common in Al Jabal Al Akhdar (for both sheep and goats) and Ubari (for sheep). Poultry raising is common in Wadi Ashshati and Sebha, involving more than one-quarter of households; flock sizes are relatively small, however, and larger-scale production is more common in coastal mantikas, such as Benghazi. Camel herding is significant in Ubari and cattle holdings are significant in Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Al Marj and Wadi Ashshati.
The catch sector in Libya is composed of four major activities: artisanal coastal fishing, lampara fishing, coastal trawling, and tuna fishing. Sponge fishing, is a minor area of production. Most of the catch is taken by artisanal boats working with nets (trammel nets and gillnets) or hooks (longlines and hand lines), and by the lampara fleet fishing for small pelagic.
Inland fisheries in Libya are negligible. Free stocking (carp and some tilapia) was carried out in the past at Wadi Kaam (Khoms/Zliten area) and Wadi Mjinine (Tripoli area) reservoirs, and more recently carp have been stocked in Abou Dzira Lake near Benghazi.