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Yemenis turn to online for stimulant leaf delivery

STORY: These qat leaves have long been a fixture of Yemeni culture.

Traditionally, customers would flock to crowded local markets to purchase varieties of the plant - which acts as a mild stimulant when chewed.

But a growing number of vendors are now using digital platforms to sell qat.

It allows users to browse selections, place orders and have the product delivered to them in the comfort of their own homes.

Vendor Muhammad al-Jamal opened a small shop in the capital of Sanaa, in response to customer demand:

“When we started our project, Welaah, it was in response to a market need, as most of the customers complained about the overcrowding of the markets. We also noticed that more people are now turning to online shopping through apps and social media platforms, so we decided to give it a try.”

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He says online platforms also bypass the bargaining that would traditionally take place in markets.

The convenience of online ordering and home delivery has also been a hit with customers, like Ibrahim al-Ward:

“It is an excellent service that saves time and avoids the crowding of the markets. Honestly, it is a successful and excellent service.”

Since kickstarting this service, vendors have been able to reach a wider audience for their product, and have seen increased sales.

“They are offering their products on Facebook, Instagram, and others. The future of e-commerce is a successful future.”