Tackling Chronic Food Insecurity through Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward
Contributed by Messay Mulugeta (PhD), Associate Professor, Chairperson of Center for Food Security Studies, College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He can be accessed by firstname.lastname@example.org
Food and nutritional insecurity has become the greatest threat to people in Ethiopia to date, despite the government’s earnest effort to enhance the agricultural productivity. Poverty is widespread in both rural and urban areas. Above all, the livelihoods situation of most of rural residents is precarious. Even in some rural parts of the country, over 90% of the inhabitants have no adequate access to the nationally set minimum dietary requirement of 2100 kcal/person/day. The magnitude is much greater in drought prone rural areas than in urban areas.
There are millions of people who have been facing food insecurity that can be explained either as chronic or transitory in nature. There were about 17.7 million food-insecure peoples in 2016 in Ethiopia. Of this figure, about 9.7 million were population in crises, emergency and famine; while about 8 million were population in chronic situations. The figure is rising, particularly in southern and south-eastern pastoral areas owing to several adverse factors in these parts of the country, such as El Niño and La Niña -driven droughts, loss of crops and livestock, rising food prices, unemployment, forced population displacement, rapid population growth, environmental degradation, diminishing land holdings, lack of on-farm technological innovations, and lack of off-farm income sources. The effect of these causal factors has been exacerbated by lack of appropriate and effective policies and strategies and implementation gaps in the last three or more decades.