Food Insecurity in Ethiopia

Topics: Ethiopia, Food security, Famine Pages: 5 (1645 words) Published: December 14, 2010

The Ethiopian government has transitioned from Marxist era to a more democratic process, where there are three branches of government. The Dreg committee had an influential role in the governmental history of Ethiopia, which was developed by the Marxist ideology. The Dreg attempted to make Ethiopia into a socialist government, with certain land reforms that benefitted some regions of Ethiopia. As they began to face opposition the newly developed party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Though all of the transformations in the government, the issue of food security has never been a top priority and therefore, the chronic food insecurity crisis is present. Ethiopia’s economy has always, for the most part been based on agriculture. The government role in the battle of food insecurity has always been passive.

Ethiopian Government Influences

The growing problem of food security in Ethiopia has been influenced by various elements. One of the most prominent effectors is its government. The Ethiopian government has created laws and established programs that have not been beneficial to its country. The government has also blames the inter connectedness of food insecurity and poverty on natural disasters instead of identifying the problem in the government and assessing the problem. Being that Ethiopia is the world’s most food aid dependent country and paradoxically, the food aid may be the most important guarantee of household food security in rural Ethiopia; it is this relief that aids in Ethiopia remaining as a ready to receive food aid country. This food relief, although it produces short-term benefits, are acting as reflex responses that is allowing the government and donors to ignore the underlying causes of food insecurity. Food aid dependency undermines food security in Ethiopia at every level, from the household to the national government. The government produces policy documents such as the National Food Security Strategy and ADLI guidelines, but has little incentive to expend its scarce resources on food security programs as long as the international community remains willing to sink its food surpluses into Ethiopia. The international donors’ goal is to prevent famine, but it reduces their food security strategy for Ethiopia to a food aid strategy.

Land Distribution

Land distribution has been a significant problem, especially in agriculture. It is based on household, which means it depends on how people are living in a household, and many people receive the “bad” land. Ownership of land indicates the size of the farm and is proportional to the number people in a household. However it is less useful as an indicator of household food security status than access to land, which can be rented from other households. These landholdings are too small and unusually evenly distributed to allow most farming households, which creates a problem of Ethiopians not being able to achieve food production self-sufficiency; as the population grows the size of land decreases.

An additional problem the Ethiopian government has is that it does not accept the blame for its role in the food security problem, yet it pushes it off on uncontrollable things like natural disasters and droughts, which affects the country’s agriculture. These events are only part of the issue, with the government not providing adequate land use. The National Food Security Strategy of 1996 was passed and stated that: “to promote commercialization of agriculture the government will strengthen security of access to land by developing regulations to frame a market-based leasehold system of transferable property rights throughout the country” (Republic of Ethiopia 1996). In other words, this quote means that the people are leasing the land and individuals are never able to own land, which limits the access to land for many people. Subsequently the government has backtracked on this commitment. Land rights can now be transferred by...
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