Sample Essay on Food Security in Ethiopia

4.0 Executive Summary

Ethiopia faces food insecurities due to diverse factors attributing to the adverse situation in the country. This report asserts that small landholdings, low soil fertility, high national populations, and limited application of inputs to enhance the soil’s ability enhance food insecurity in the country. More so, limited employment opportunities, low performance in the agricultural sector, and restricted diversification and migration options do not improve food insecurity issues in the country. Dependency on unreliable rainfalls also leads to low production of foods. As a result, Ethiopia should develop unique programs and policies to assist citizens and sectors task to achieve food security. For example, Index-Linked Funds (ILF) can provide the country with rapid relief when the extreme weather conditions hinder agricultural activities reducing food production. The programs should be based on principles increasing agricultural activities to increase food production. Supportive safety nets should also be created to assist vulnerable households suffering from global warming and food insecurities. More importantly, the government should establish educational programs to inform farmers how to improve and increase agricultural activities. Consequently, households can divert to formal employment increasing landholdings to engage in farming and food production. Ultimately, the country can establish robust emergency food reserves able to finance large-scale humanitarian response programs assisting vulnerable communities to reduce droughts, famine, and poverty as well as food insecurities.

4.1 Objectives
  1. To address the specific issues affecting food insecurities in Ethiopia.
  2. To evaluate statistics on health issues related to food insecurities in the country.
  3. To evaluate how current measures implemented to address and respond food insecurity issues are working.
  4. Evaluate how the responses can be improved to ensure they are working.
  5. Provide viable recommendations.
5.0 Background Information

Ethiopia is a Sub-Saharan African nation located at the Horn of Africa. It has a population of at least ninety million citizens thus, the most inhibited nation among global landlocked countries. It also considered as the second most populous country in Africa. Its capital city is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia however suffers food insecurity. Food security refers to sufficient intake of foods among citizens with variable accessibility and low vulnerability to inadequacy in food production. Lack of food security is characterized by chronic, resilient, and cyclical endemics in accessibility and availability of food (UNICEF 2012, p. 1).

The condition of food insecurity in Ethiopia is triggered by periods of drought, famine and war. This issue can therefore be described as transitory food insecurity. Food insecurity in Ethiopia is also triggered by structural factors leading to chronic inadequacies and insufficiencies. Fragile natural resources in the country coupled with weak land tenures, markets and unhelpful as well as inconsistent government policies to ensure food security attribute to causes and consequences of chronic food insecurities. Food insecurity can be traced since 1980s when the food gap increased from at least one million to five million tons due to lack of food harvests. As a result, the country has had to depend on food aids delivered to reduce chronic food insecurities in Ethiopia. This however has not decreased the gap between chronic and transitory food insecurities. This is because the country is unable to increase food production during ideal weather conditions. Ethiopia therefore records low and inconsistent harvests during low and erratic rainfalls increasing famine (Senay 2012, p. 7).

5.1 Current Statistics

Ethiopia acknowledges agricultural performances ought and should improve in order to achieve food security. Since 1994, at least a ten percent agricultural growth rate per year is achieved in the country according to the Central Statistics Agency in Ethiopia. The growth rates are due to comprehensive economic reforms undertaken by the government to create, support, and encourage sector-wide and federal growths. In 2010, at least five million people in Ethiopia faced food insecurity challenges. The Global Hunger Index with help from World Food Program and World Health Organization asserted that, they suffer from malnutrition and deaths. This has also increased child mortality rates. The report affirmed that, 53.5% of children die. More so, 30.6% of expectant women die due to anemic conditions. Ultimately, at least 75% citizens die from issues related to food insecurities (UN 2010, p. 17).

6.0 Specific Issues Affecting Food Security in Ethiopia

The following specific issues have affected food security in Ethiopia. Foremost, landholdings in the country are small and unevenly distributed. This neither allows nor encourages households to engage in farming to increase production of food. As a result, the country suffers from self-insufficiencies in food production. The country also records a high population. This lessens landholdings further. It also places intolerable stress on the country’s fragile natural resources (Fekadu & Mequanent 2010, p. 305).

Soil fertility levels in Ethiopia are recorded as low. This is attributed to intensive cultivation of the small and unevenly distributed lands. This problem is coupled with limited application of inputs to enhance the soil’s ability to enhance yields. This has therefore led to recurrence of famines, droughts, and abnormally low harvest yields increasing shocks on food production. Limited employment opportunities coupled with restricted diversification and migration options have burdened farms and landholdings. This is because people without options to achieve and sustain means of earning and living through formal employment result to farming. This burdens the landholdings leading to unviable agricultural activities. The Ethiopian agricultural sector therefore records a low performance. This is in spite of the country’s economy solely relying on agriculture to sustain or increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) (Senay 2012, p. 11).

Food insecurity and poverty are often described as empirically and conceptually different. This is however not the case in Ethiopia as they both overlap due to the high population coupled with low GDP and per capital growth rates. More so, the country’s administrative and leadership bodies calculate poverty lines on food consumption norms per day among the adults. The nation’s minimum consumption basket determined by Welfare Monitoring Units ascertained more than fifty people in live within the poverty line. The country therefore does not consider that citizens live below the poverty lines. More so, the country ensures donors, food aids, gifts and household surplus guarantee citizens are either within or above the poverty lines (Beddington, Asaduzzaman, Fernandez, Clark, Guillou, Jahn, Erda, Mamo, Van-Bo, Nobre, Scholes, Sharma & Wakhungu 2011, p. 4).

The country is located at the Horn of Africa a region considered as the most vulnerable climatic changes. It is vulnerable to global warming leading to abnormal rise in temperatures. This reduces agricultural yields by thirty percent especially in production of staple cereals. Ethiopia’s food policies lack the ability to attract attention and improve food and agricultural activities (FAO 2011, p. 1). These issues correlate leading to persistent insufficiencies in food production and supply in the country increase across households (Fekadu & Mequanent 2010, p. 300).

Food insecurities among household are also attributed to dependency on the unreliable rainfalls leading to low production of foods. The government’s strategies formulated and implemented, as driving forces in improving and enhancing the economy through investments are also not assuring. This is because national and household food securities cannot be achieved without implementing technological inputs and practices (UN 2010, p. 1). Technologies have been applied to increase agricultural productivities. They are also adopted to increase generation of savings to expand investments. The government has failed based on the following aspects. Foremost, the country has failed to provide peasants with inputs to either commence or enhance food production. It has also failed to implement strategies promoting small-scale irrigation in order to fight famine and droughts decreasing agricultural yields (Senay 2012, p. 15).

Improved livestock herds are also vital in supporting and enhancing agricultural activities. Citizens however lack these inputs and support from the government. Protection of the environmental and management of natural resources coupled with strategies to increase marketing efficiencies in supply of grains lacks in Ethiopia. More so, the government has failed to promote farmers’ organizations while encouraging women to participate in agricultural activities in order to increase and sustain food production. Ultimately, government strategies to increase agricultural production can be described as strong but rhetoric. All these issues have therefore hindered agricultural development leading to environmental degradation and increase in food insecurity (Senay 2012, p. 7).

7.0 How Ethiopia Addresses and Responds
Agricultural Response

The country acknowledges agricultural sector is vital in achieving overall economic growth and high-level performance in order to decrease food securities and poverty. The sector also provides at least forty percent incomes towards the nation’s annual budget. Since agricultural sector produces at least seventy percent of cereals to record the Gross Domestic Production, strong and substantial agricultural programs have been established. They are tasked with providing agricultural sector with inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and technologies to improve irrigation. The government is therefore committed to support and improve the agricultural sector in order to enhance the national budget (ALTCBP 2013, p. 6).

Investment Response

In 2009, the country’s administration trained and assigned more than forty five thousand Development Agents to support agricultural sector. This was based on the nation’s articulate plan towards the Agricultural Sector Policy and Investment Framework tasked in prioritizing increase in food production. The plan involves a ten years strategic framework policy highlighting the priority areas the country ought to focus on to enhance food security. These policies also focus on measures to undertake with regards to investment estimations to meet and fulfill financial needs (ALTCBP 2013, p. 9).

Trade Policies Response

Ethiopia is also pursuing trading policies to build domestic, household, and national food securities. It believes this can enhance the private’s sector to increase agricultural investments in order to reduce poverty and end food insecurities. The Ethiopian government is therefore focused on trade policies to enhance its efforts to increase transparency and stability within agricultural trading activities (ALTCBP 2013, p. 14).

7.1 Evaluating the Responses
Agricultural Response

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program demonstrated that African ownership and leadership could be expanded through agricultural activities. Private and public investors should therefore support the agriculture industry in Ethiopia. More so, African leaders ought to build and guide the progressing agricultural activities in Ethiopia. As a result, Ethiopia will be empowered to continue showcasing its commitment as it strives to achieve food security (FAO, 2011, p. 3).

Investment Response

The investments are incorporated focusing on potential and viable practices that can increase food production through agricultural activities. The government of Ethiopia has been collaborating with G8 members to achieve food security through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The relationship is an investment support towards Ethiopia’s desires and will to generate a greater private investment agricultural development. Thus, Ethiopian government is empowered to enhance scales of innovation to achieve and sustain food securities as it is determined to end droughts and famine leading to hunger and to reduce poverty (USAID 2012, p. 4).

 

Trade Policies Response

To support private and public sectors in increasing agricultural investments to reduce poverty and end food insecurities strategy, the Ethiopian government has promised to fulfill its intentions to provide financial and human resources as well as viable trading policies. The policies should encourage farmers, investors, governmental ministries, and stakeholders to achieve tangible and sustainable outcomes accelerating food production and security. The Ethiopian government is therefore persistently and consistently committed to formulate and implement trading policies. They are tasked in expanding agricultural activities and investments to reaffirm food security through agricultural trading programs (ALTCBP 2013, p. 14).

8.0 Recommendations for Future Actions

The following evidence-based actions were proposed by the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change to promote food security. It affirms these actions can deliver long-term benefits across various countries suffering from food insecurity. Foremost, Ethiopia should integrate food security and sustainable national policies. They should highlight adaptable agricultural principles based on climatic changes to support the agricultural sector. Regional and national level action policies related to climatic changes decreasing the nation’s vulnerability to high temperatures, global warming and low rainfalls can therefore be implemented (WFP 2004, p. 15).

9.0 Conclusion

According to FAO, reshaping programs through which citizens can access sufficient foodstuffs can ensure Ethiopia develops consumption patterns fulfilling nutritional needs. As a result, the government ought to address chronic under-nutrition by harmonizing programs to reduce hunger and poverty. Consequently, livelihoods will be enabled to access and secure food programs across rural and urban households. Increase in global investments can also ensure the country achieves and sustains food security on a decade basis. This should involve the government implementing and strengthening the Group of Eight (G8) L’Aquila programs committed to agricultural production of foods. More so, long-term commitment to ensure financial, technological, and human resources assist in increasing food production should be empowered. This will promote positive changes with regards to supply of variable and high quantity diets. Ultimately, these practices and programs will achieve innovation and enhance sustainable standards increasing food security and the overall wellbeing of Ethiopian population.

 

10.0 Appendix

Task 1: Climate changes and agricultural activities: To understand how the horn of Africa determines farmers’ experiences based on impacts of climate change on agricultural activities.

Task 2: poverty versus Food Insecurity: Determine how climate changes impact agriculture increasing levels of poverty in Ethiopia.

Task 3: Production, Reproduction, and Community Management: Determine how Ethiopians can be encouraged and supported to modify agricultural, economic, and social activities to increase food security.

 

11.0 References

Africa Leadership Training and Capacity Building Program (ALTCBP) 2013, Institutional Architecture for Food Security Policy Change: Ethiopia. United States Agency for International Development Report.

Beddington, J., Asaduzzaman, M., Fernandez, A., Clark, M., Guillou, M., Jahn, M., Erda, L., Mamo, T., Van-Bo, N., Nobre, A., Scholes, R., Sharma, R & Wakhungu, J 2011, Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change: Summary for Policy Makers from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Daniel, M., Bapu, V., Girmay, T & Nigussie, A 2013, Resilience, Food Security Dynamics, and Poverty Traps in Northern Ethiopia, Analysis of a Biannual Panel Dataset, 2011–2013 Strengthening the Humanity and Dignity of People in Crisis through Knowledge and Practice. Feinstein International Center.

Fekadu, B & Mequanent, M 2010, Determinants of Food Security among Rural Households of Central Ethiopia: An Empirical Analysis. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, 49(1): 299-318.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2011, DroughtRelated Food Insecurity: A Focus on the Horn of Africa. Food and Agriculture Organization Report.

Senay, H 2012, Gender, Agriculture and Food Security, United Nations Development Program on Capacity Development Series Report.

United Nations (UN) 2010, Ethiopia: Food Assistance Needs Rising for 2010. UN Relief Wing Reports, UN News Service.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2012, Ethiopia: Country Report, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) World-book Report.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 2012, G8 Cooperation Framework to Support the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Ethiopia. Camp David G8 Meeting.

World Food Program (WFP) 2004, Projects for Executive Board Approval: Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, Ethiopia. World Food Program, Addis Ababa.