Food Insecurity in Ethiopia Essay
History: 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 inheritance within families, though the government retains ultimate disposal rights. (Meles Zenawi, 2000) Government and Economy Another cause by the government is the switch from a command economy to market-led economy, which produced a positive effect like removed the constraints on peasant farming that heavy state interventionism brought with it, but it also dismantled the state institutions that had provided vital inputs and services to farmers.The command economy was ineffective because the needed material, which mainly was food, was not being produced in the demand that it was needed. The market-led economy was seen as a way to develop a more effective economy, while also developing self-sufficiency.
The government policies would have been more effective if they would have consulted the people of Ethiopia. While Ethiopia has come closer to its overall aim of self-sufficiency, this has not led to an automatic reduction in food insecurity of annual variations in production are still considerable, reflecting in part the dependence of farming on climatic conditions.These variations cause significant price fluctuations, in the absence of effective market regulation and a transport and storage infrastructure that could allow surpluses to be directed towards deficit areas. [ (Frignet, 2004) ] In addition the encouraged systematic use of inputs, which is based on credit, can cause repayment problems due to the vagaries of production and the absence of a guaranteed minimum selling price. Nondemocratic GovernmentThis chronic food shortage is the product of many decades of Ethiopian leaders blaming the food shortage on the “natural acts” of God, but they have yet still failed to do anything about it.
Indian economics Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. argued that the best way to avert famines is by institutionalizing democracy and strengthening human rights: “No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy” because democratic governments “have to win elections and face public criticism, and have strong incentive to undertake measures to avert famines and other catastrophes. (Mariam, Alemayehu G. 2009) The lack of a structured democratic system in Ethiopia has led the citizens there without a voice, without basic rights so many people take for granted. The people are dying due to the corrupt, foreign-aid-profiteering and ethnically-polarizing dictators. Without an implementation of a new system of government, the people will continue to suffer and Ethiopia will remain dependant on foreign aid for to attempt to cure their chronic food security crisis.
Future Governmental PolicyIn order to deal with the issue of food security, a new approach has to be implemented that would be designed to guarantee self-sufficiency at household level, thereby reducing the risk of temporary shortfalls. With this being said, the government Ethiopian government revamped the food security strategy framework in 2002. It has set out four objectives, which are improving food availability by increasing crop and animal production, improving access to food by increasing farm and off-farm income, improving health services, and improving access to land through voluntary relocation out of areas of chronic food insecurity. (Frignet, 2004) ] These four main objectives plan to be obtained by developing irrigation and water points, soil conservation and fodder plantations in pastoral areas; intensifying cropping through the use of inputs, improving credit and market mechanisms, improving access to micro-credit mechanisms and much more. This revised strategy addressed the problems that influence food insecurity like the critical importance of animal production, and making the link between so-called ‘transitory’ food shortages and ‘chronic’ deficits.
It stresses the need to develop a precautionary approach in the medium to long term, while reinforcing short-term response capacity. Although the Ethiopian government revamped this plan, it clearly has not been effective being that Ethiopia is still heavily dependent of foreign aid. The government could attempt to repair its food security crisis by implementing programs that will socially be beneficial. These programs will help poor Ethiopians will developing a living and bring in income.
They also need to lessen their dependence on donors, the donors can set up multi-year contracts rather than just responding to tardily on an annual basis. They should revamp their system of response to the food crisis. They can set up industrialized safety nets for people who can not reach their substance needs, they can also attempt to make food more available and stimulate its development market by focusing more on the agriculture there rather than buying exports. They can also develop some small-scale irrigation technologies to stabilize crop yields in drought years. These are short term goals that can be reached ithin five to ten years or so; but they should be attempting to work to long-term goals that will create a policy where they constrain agricultural productivity, such as rigid land tenure systems and insecurity caused by repeated land redistribution and undermine alternative economic activities that regulations that inhibit investment. They also need to support diversification away from precarious livelihood systems towards sustainable alternatives whose returns are not correlated with rainfall, which could possibly become an agro-industry, or services such as community-based tourism.
The main goal should be to switch from annual emergency response to multi-year planning and programming by donors is strongly recommended.Sources: 1) Devereux, Stephen; Sussex, IDS. FOOD INSECURITY IN ETHIOPIA. October 2000. http://cram-forum.
jrc. it/Shared%20Documents/Food%20Insecurity%20in%20Ethiopia. pdf 2) Mariam, Alemayehu G. “Famine and the Noisome Beast in Ethiopia.
” The Huffington Post. 30 October 2009. http://www. huffingtonpost. com/alemayehu-g-mariam/famine-and-the-noisome-be_b_339467.
html 3) Annick Hiensch (2007). Case Study #4-2, “Surviving Shocks in Ethiopia: The Role of Social Protection for Food Security”. In: Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors), “Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies. ” 10 pp. http://cip.
cornell. edu/dns. gfs/1200428163 4) Meles Zenawi, 2000, Introductory Speech and Responses to Panel Questions at IAG Ethiopian Economic Review Symposium. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Economic Review 5) Republic of Ethiopia, 1996, National Food Security Strategy.
Addis Ababa 6) Frignet, J. (2004). Food insecurity and aid policies in Ethiopia. Humanitarian Exchange Magazine (27). F