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Agricultural Development in Ethiopia: Are There alternatives to Food Aid?

Authors:
AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN ETHIOPIA: ARE THERE
ALTERNATIVES TO FOOD AID?
BY
MULAT DEMEKE
FANTU GUTA
TADELE FEREDE
DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS
ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY
ADDIS ABABA
ETHIOPIA
OCTOBER, 2004
Table of Contents
List of Tables............................................................................................................................................ i
List of Figures .........................................................................................................................................ii
SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND............................................................... 1
1.1 Description of the Problem...............................................................................................1
1.2 Objectives of the Study ....................................................................................................2
1.3 Methodology of the Study and Data Sources...................................................................2
1.4 Organization of the Study.................................................................................................2
SECTION TWO: DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF FOOD SECURITY SITUATION............... 3
2.1 Description and Analysis of Food Supply and Demand ..................................................3
2.3 Determinants of Food Consumption in Rural Ethiopia....................................................6
2.4 Food Gap and Food Aid...................................................................................................9
2.5 Food aid administration, logistics and distribution ........................................................10
2.6 Food Security in Ethiopia...............................................................................................12
2.7 Trends in the number of food-assisted people................................................................14
2.8 Malnutrition and under-nutrition....................................................................................16
2.9 Trends in poverty levels .................................................................................................16
2.10 National food security strategy.....................................................................................18
SECTION THREE: IMPORTANCE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE SECTOR AND PUBLIC
SUPPORT
............................................................................................................................................. 20
3.1 Overview of the Economy..............................................................................................20
3.2. Importance and Performance of the Food and Agriculture Sector................................23
3.2.1 Crop sub-sector........................................................................................................23
3.2.2. Livestock sub- sector..............................................................................................26
3.2.3. Fishery sub-sector...................................................................................................27
3.2.4. Forestry sub-sector .................................................................................................27
3.3 Major Constraints to Food Security and Agricultural Development..............................28
3.3.1 Erratic Weather Conditions.....................................................................................28
3.3.2 Environmental degradation .....................................................................................29
3.3.3 Rapid population growth and declining farm size...................................................30
3.3.4 Technological gaps..................................................................................................30
3.3.5 Infrastructural, institutional and other constraints...................................................32
3.4 Agricultural Strategies and Policies ...............................................................................33
3.4.1 Pre-1991 ..................................................................................................................33
3.4.2 The Socialist/ Military Regime ...............................................................................34
3.4.3 Post-1991.................................................................................................................36
3.5 Role of Civil Societies in Policy Formulation and Implementation...............................39
3.6 Pattern of Support and Terms of Trade..........................................................................39
3.6.1 Budgetary Allocation...............................................................................................39
3.6.2 Terms of trade..........................................................................................................44
3.7 Private sector development............................................................................................46
SCTION FOUR: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF FOOD IMPORT/AID DEPENDENCE ............... 48
4.1 Theoretical Framework of Macroeconomic Analysis of Food Aid Impacts..................48
4.2 Theoretical Framework for Analysis of Food Aid Impacts at Households Level..........50
4.3 Data Sources, Estimation and Results of Macro-economic Impacts of Food Aid.........50
4.4 Data Sources, Estimation and Analysis of Food Aid Impacts at Household Level.......55
SECTION FIVE: OPTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND
FOOD SECURITY
............................................................................................................................... 57
5.1 Opportunities for Agricultural Development and Food Security...................................57
5.1.1 Natural Resources....................................................................................................57
5.1.2 Human Resources....................................................................................................58
5.2 Support Measures Required to Tap the Potentials of the Country.................................59
5.2.1 Institutional Reform.................................................................................................59
5.2.2 Supply-Side Interventions.......................................................................................61
5.2.3 Demand Side Interventions ...................................................................................63
5.3 Expand non-agricultural employment............................................................................65
5.4 Safety nets for the Vulnerable........................................................................................66
5.5 Enhance Investment in Agriculture................................................................................................. 67
REFERENCES...................................................................................................................................... 74
List of Tables
Table 2.1: Trends in food availability............................................................................................. 3
Table 2.2: Food imports (in metric tons)........................................................................................ 4
Table 2.3: Projected food supply and requirements (in metric tons).............................................. 6
Table 2.4: Determinants of food consumption per capita in rural Ethiopia..................................................7
Table 2.5: Cost of food aid (in million USD)..................................................................................... 12
Table 2.6: Classification of food insecure households in Ethiopia ....................................................... 13
Table 2.7: Drought/disaster affected population................................................................................. 14
Table 2.8: Regional distribution of relief food assisted population (in '000')......................................... 15
Table 2.9: Child wasting and stunting in Ethiopia (children aged between 6-59 months)....................... 16
Table 2.10: Structure of household income and food consumption (percent)........................................ 17
Table 2.11: Real annual consumption expenditure (in Birr) ................................................................ 17
Table 2.12: Trends in poverty........................................................................................................... 17
Table 3.1: Growth Episodes, 1960 – 2002 (in percent) ...................................................................... 20
Table 3.2: Trends in other macroeconomic indicators (in percent)....................................................... 22
Table 3.3: Trends in inflation (%)..................................................................................................... 22
Table 3.5: Rainfall variability and trends of the agricultural growth rate.............................................. 29
Table 3.6: Number of Households by size of holding (1997/98).......................................................... 30
Table 3.7: Modern inputs in the peasant sector (2000/01)................................................................... 31
Table 3.9: Share of recurrent budget in the total government budget (1980/81 to 2000/01) ................... 42
Table 3.10: Breakdown of federal budget, 2002/03 (000 birr)............................................................. 43
Table 3.11: Ratio of teff and maize price to DAP price (1986-2001) ................................................... 46
Table 4.1: Results of the Estimation (t-ratios are given in parenthesis) ................................................ 51
Table 4.2: Reduced form Coefficients (Impact Multipliers) ................................................................ 52
Table 4.3: Interim, Cumulative and total Multiplier Effects of Food Aid ............................................. 54
Table 5.1: Urban and Rural Labour Forces.................................................................................................59
i
List of Figures
Figure 2.1: Trends in per capita food availability and requirement (kg/head/year) ....................... 3
Figure 2.2: Daily per capita calorie supply of cereals and animal products................................... 4
Figure 2.3: Patterns of food imports............................................................................................... 5
Figure 2.4: Food supply by source (cereals, roots and tuber) (cal/cap/day)................................... 5
Figure 2.5: The share of food aid in domestic food production...................................................... 9
Figure 3.1: Pattern of GDP growth rate of agricultural, industrial and service sectors (at constant prices)
over the period 1962-2002
........................................................................................................ 21
Figure 3.2: Trends in yield per hectare for cereals, pulses and oilseeds................................................ 26
Figure 3.3: Government expenditure in agriculture ........................................................................... 40
Figure 3.4: Sectoral comparison of government recurrent expenditure allocation ................................. 41
Figure 3.5: Sectoral comparison of government capital expenditure allocation..................................... 42
ii
SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 Description of the Problem
Africa faces the world’s gravest hunger problems, and these problems are getting worse. According to the
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, 186 million Africans are going hungry today. Even
more disturbing, Africa is the only continent where hunger problem is projected to worsen over the next
two decades. Currently, sub-Saharan Africa produces less food per person than three decades ago and
remains one of the most malnourished regions in the world (Mulugeta and Etalem, 2003; Degefa, 2002).
The Ethiopian economy is among the most vulnerable in sub-Saharan Africa. It is heavily dependent on
the agricultural sector, which has suffered from recurrent droughts and extreme fluctuations of output.
Agricultural production, for instance, has been growing by about 2.3% during 1980-2000 while
population was growing on average at a rate of 2.9% per year, leading to a decline in per capita
agricultural production by about 0.6% per year. According to the UNDP, the proportion of people in
Ethiopia who are absolutely poor in the year 2001 was 44%. The levels of poverty also show significant
variation among rural/urban areas and across regional states. Income distribution in Ethiopia seems to be
more unevenly distributed in both rural and urban areas compared to other Sub-Saharan African
countries. The overall consumption Gini coefficient for 2000 is found to be 0.572, signaling a polarization
of the society regarding availability of income. Income inequality appears to be higher in urban areas than
in rural areas. Poverty situation of the country has shown no sign of improvement over time.
The number of food insecure households in Ethiopia has been increasing since the 1960s. Domestic food
production has failed to meet the food requirements of the country. The annual food deficit increased
from about 0.75 million ton in 1979/80 to 1.4 million tons in 2000 (Mulat 1999; Mulugeta and Etalem,
2003). The country has been receiving on average 700 thousand tons of food aid per annum in the last
fifteen years. Increasing reliance on food aid is now a serious concern among experts and policy makers
in the country.
The available evidence suggests that the support provided to the agricultural sector has been less than
satisfactory (Mulat 1999; Taye 1992). Government expenditure in agriculture in relation to total
expenditure has shown a declining trend, from 9.1% in 1991/92 to 7.6% in 1997/98 and the same pattern
has continued to this date (MOFED, 2002). The agriculture sector, despite its dominance in the economy,
has been receiving little support and budgetary injections in the last four decades. Limited support to
agriculture has severely constrained agricultural development. The problem is further compounded by
land degradation, which is linked to inadequate property rights. These and other factors are responsible
for the country’s faltering struggle to grow even at a rate of the population growth.
Despite the fact that Ethiopia is currently food insecure, it has been argued that the country has a great
potential for increasing agricultural production and productivity and thereby ensuring food security.
Ethiopia is well endowed with potentially cultivable land resources, has an immense untapped irrigation and
hydroelectric potential, has diverse climatic features to grow a large variety of crops and sustain pastoral
activities, and has the largest livestock population in Africa. The question then is why the country cannot
tap its potential instead of relying on food aid? Why is the agriculture, despite its potential significance to
economic growth, attracting less support from government and other development partners? What are the
impacts of food aid dependence on Ethiopian agriculture sector? And what needs to be done to ensure
sustainable food security and agricultural development in the country?
1
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The central objective of this study was to explore how Ethiopia could disentangle itself from food aid
dependency and attains a sustainable food security, agricultural development and economic growth. The
specific objectives of the study are to:
Describe and analyse domestic food production, flow of food aid/imports and food security
situation of the country.
Analyse the evolution and trends of support provided to the development of the agricultural
sector.
Assess (quantitatively and qualitatively) the impact of food aid on long term food security and
agricultural development of the country
Recommend concrete policy and support options.
1.3 Methodology of the Study and Data Sources
In order to address the stated objectives, both descriptive and econometric techniques are employed. In
doing so, trend analysis of time series data both at national and regional levels have been employed to
assess the pattern of selected variables. In addition, econometric modelling has also been used both at
national as well as household level with the objective of examining the impact of food aid on the
agricultural sector. These methods are used to analyse the link between food aid on the one hand and food
security, agricultural production and productivity on the other hand.
The data for this study have come from various sources including National Income Account Statistics,
rural and urban household surveys conducted by the Department of Economics of Addis Ababa
University, report on Household Income, Consumption, and Expenditure surveys (1995/96 and
1999/2000), National Labour Force Survey (1999), Publication by DPPC, Agricultural census and sample
surveys, Population and Housing Censuses, Welfare Monitoring Surveys, and Population Censuses etc.
1.4 Organization of the Study
The study is organized in eight sections. Section 2 provides description and analysis food security
situation. Section 3 discusses the importance of food and agriculture sector and public support. Sections 4
and 5 deal with, respectively, the impact of food aid/ import dependence and options for sustainable
agricultural development and food security. Finally, summary and conclusions of the study are given
section 6.
2
SECTION TWO: DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF FOOD SECURITY
SITUATION
2.1 Description and Analysis of Food Supply and Demand
Emerging evidence indicates that per capita food supply has declined since the 1960s: from the
average of 128.08 kilogram per head in 1961-1974 to 125.41 kilogram per head in 1992-2001 and
the figure was 119.99 for the period 1975-1991, a period characterized by lower per capita food
supply owing to poor management of the economy, internal conflict and drought. The per capita
food supply has not shown any substantial improvements over the last four decades, rather it has
stagnated. Despite substantial ups and downs particularly in the 1990s, per capita food availability
has increased from 113.26 kilogram in 1992 to 149.33 kilogram in 2001, representing an average
growth rate of 3.0% per year during the period considered. In the 1990s, the lowest per capita food
supply was recorded during the drought year of 1993, amounting to 110.13kg (Table 2.1). It
should be noted that the minimum weighted average food requirement per head per day for the
country is about 2,100 calories, ~225 kilograms of grain per head per year (MEDaC, 1999). As
indicated in Figure 2.1, domestic food production has never met the minimum food requirement
set at 2,100 calories per capita (Figure 2.1).
In terms of calorie per capita, the daily calorie per capita supply of cereals increased from 1056.20
kilogram per day in 1992 to 1409.9 in 2001 at an average rate of 3.2% per year. The daily calorie
per capita supply of vegetables, however, has declined from 6.4 in 1992 to 5.2 in 2001, at an
average rate of 2.1% per year. Similarly, the daily calorie per capita of animal products has shown
a downward trend in the 1990s: it has declined from 102 kilogram in 1992 to 96.5 kilogram in
2001.
Table 2.1: Trends in food availability
Description 1961-1974 1975-1991 1992-2001 1961-2001
Food supply/head/year 128.11 119.99 125.41 124.08
Daily calorie per capita (Cereals) 1160.64 1106.80 1177.10 1142.33
Daily calorie per capita (vegetables) 128.11 119.99 125.41 124.08
Daily calorie per capita (animal products) 153.69 120.92 87.62 123.99
Source: Own computation from FAOSTAT
Figure 2.1: Trends in per capita food availability and requirement (kg/head/year)
0
50
100
150
200
250
1
96
1
1
96
3
1
96
5
1
96
7
1
96
9
1
97
1
1
97
3
1
97
5
1
97
7
1
97
9
1
98
1
1
98
3
1
98
5
1
98
7
1
98
9
1
99
1
1
99
3
1
99
5
1
99
7
1
99
9
2
00
1
Food supply/head/year At 225kg/head/year
3
Figure 2.2: Daily per capita calorie supply of cereals and animal products
0.00
200.00
400.00
600.00
800.00
1,000.00
1,200.00
1,400.00
1,600.00
19
61
19
63
19
65
19
67
19
69
19
71
19
73
19
75
19
77
19
79
19
81
19
83
19
85
19
87
19
89
19
91
19
93
19
95
19
97
19
99
2001
Cereals Animal products
It should be noted that most of the increase in per capita daily calorie in the 1990s could be
attributable to an increase in availability of cereal products via domestic production and import.
According to the available evidence, though fluctuating, the size of food imports has shown an
increasing trend over time both in volume and value terms: increased from 119.6 million USD in
1993 to 175.2 million USD in 2002, representing an average annual growth rate of 1.7% per year.
Cereal imports have contributed to such high food imports during the period considered: increased
from 75.9 million USD (~449,330 metric tons) in 1993 to 108.3 million USD (~697,017 metric
tons) in 2002. Specifically, wheat imports have been the dominant food imports since the late
1970s and have risen
substantially in the 1980s and 1990s, followed by sorghum and fruits and vegetables.
For instance, wheat imports have increased from 56.8 million USD (~358,100 metric tons) in 1993 to 98.5
million USD (~657,000 metric tons) in 2002 (Table 2.2). It seems that the size food import has to do with
the performance of the domestic agricultural production in which food imports tend to decline during good
harvest years and rise during bad years or seasons. For instance, cereal imports have reached its peak during
the period 2000 and 2001 where there was severe drought and declined the following year owing to
increased domestic production (figure 2.3).
Table 2.2: Food imports (in metric tons)
Item
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Cereals 1,047,405 449,330 1,158,372 640,240 394,280 283,727 586,455 703,676 1,265,320 1,092,451 697,017
Maize 166 21,000 36,300 24,500 20,500 26,800 30,000 35,000 12,011 6,361 3,189
Rice 13,371 13,170 10,264 1,333 2,100 3,600 5,491 9,095 2,695 4,713 10,777
Wheat 830,000 358,100 553,583 509,500 295,000 187,200 463,000 550,000 1,164,000 1,031,000 657,000
Pulses 31,200 16,900 15,315 4,696 4,696 4,696 4,696 6,531 25,190 17,300 2,190
Sorghum 63,200 19,900 102,875 100,354 50,000 10,000 50,000 49,000 7,400 8,500 10,000
Source: FAOSTAT
4
Figure 2.3: Patterns of food imports
0
200,000
400,000
600,000
800,000
1,000,000
1,200,000
1,400,000
1
980
1
982
1
984
1
986
1
988
1
990
1
992
1
994
1
996
1
998
2
000
2
002
Cereals Wheat Sorghum
2.2 Projection of Food Supply and Demand
It has been indicated that daily calorie supply of food, measured in terms of Dietary Supply Energy
(DSE), has shown improvements during the period 1992-2001. For instance, it has increased from
1402.4 calories in 1992 to 2081.4 calories in 2001 and the average is about 1911.54 calories, lower
(by about 9%) than the minimum daily requirement. A significant proportion (~62%) of the total
DSE has been contributed by cereals, followed by roots and tuber (~22.1%), pulses (~11.5%) and
animal products (~4.6%) (Figure 2.4)
Figure 2.4: Food supply by source (cereals, roots and tuber) (cal/cap/day)
Food supply cereals, roots and tuber (cal/cap/daya0
0.00
200.00
400.00
600.00
800.00
1,000.00
1,200.00
1,400.00
1,600.00
1,800.00
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Year
Cal/cap/day
Cereals
Roots and tuber
Agg items
Source: FAOSTATS
Despite improvements in domestic production during the 1990s, it is not sufficient to ensure food
security both at household and national levels, and the gap is to be filled by food aid. Thus, as long
as there exists a gap between domestic food production and population, the later being greater than
the former, food insecurity and the infusion of food aid will continue in the future.
5
Based on the trends of the dietary supply energy and current population size (about 71.1 million in
2004), it is possible to predict the total food requirements from the main crops for period 2005 and
2015. The requirements have been calculated on the basis of the present population size (see
below). The major challenge for the country is how to meet the food requirements of the growing
population, growing at a rate of 2.9% per year and which is projected to increase to 94.5 million by
the year 2015. The future trend of food supply and demand can be estimated based on the
historical data, i.e. the future projection of food supply in terms of dietary supply per capita is
based on the assumption that cereal production will remain stable during the period considered.
Table 2.3 presents the results of the projected food supply and requirements during the period
covering 2005-2015. The results show that the total domestic food requirement has to be increased
from 16.47 million tons in 2005 to 21.32 million tons in 2015, at a rate of 2.58% per year if the
minimum food per capita is going to be achieved (i.e. 2,100 calories, equivalent to 225.5 kg per
capita per year). To meet this huge food requirement in the years to come, domestic cereal
production should be increased to 10.14, 11.59 and 13.13 million tons in 2005, 2010 and 2015,
respectively. This clearly reveals that even under the assumption of stable cereal production
(which is unlikely due to frequent drought) and no increase in food demand in the country, there
still remains unsatisfied food demand, suggesting the need for food aid to bridge the food gap.
Table 2.3: Projected food supply and requirements (in metric tons)
Food items
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Cereals
10.14 10.42 10.71 11.00 11.29 11.59 11.89 12.20 12.50 12.81 13.13
Vegetables
0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.06 0.06 0.06 0.06
Roots and tuber
3.63 3.73 3.84 3.94 4.05 4.15 4.26 4.37 4.48 4.59 4.70
Pulses
1.89 1.94 2.00 2.05 2.11 2.16 2.22 2.28 2.33 2.39 2.45
Animal products
0.75 0.78 0.80 0.82 0.84 0.86 0.89 0.91 0.93 0.95 0.98
Total requirement
16.47 16.93 17.39 17.86 18.34 18.82 19.31 19.81 20.31 20.81 21.32
Source: Own computation
2.3 Determinants of Food Consumption in Rural Ethiopia
A regression model has been built for the estimation of the determinants of per capita food
consumption in Ethiopia based on data complied from the Fifth Round Ethiopian Rural
Households Survey for the year 1999/00. It should be noted that the dependent variable of the
model is the natural logarithm of real food consumption per capita, and hence the estimated
regression coefficients measure the percentage change in real food consumption per capita for a
unit change in the dependent variable. Summary of the results of the model run are presented in
Table 2.4. Details on the key determinants of per capita food consumption are summarized as
follows.
6
Table 2.4: Determinants of food consumption per capita in rural Ethiopia
Robust
Logarithm of real food consumption per capita (Dep.
Variable) Coef.
Std. Err
t P>|t|
Age of head of household 0.002 0.002 1.110 0.269
Sex of household head -0.002 0.044 -0.060 0.955
Persons 0-6 years old -0.099 0.020 -4.980 0.000
Persons 7-17 years old -0.177 0.015 -11.530 0.000
Males 18-64 years old -0.232 0.026 -8.960 0.000
Females 18-64 years old -0.155 0.028 -5.560 0.000
Persons aged 65 or older -0.201 0.037 -5.410 0.000
Number of persons employed in agricultural sector -0.007 0.022 -0.320 0.745
Number of persons employed in industrial sector 0.047 0.075 0.630 0.531
Number of persons employed in service sector 0.029 0.017 1.680 0.094
Number of literate adult males 0.146 0.041 3.520 0.000
Number of literate adult Females -0.030 0.040 -0.730 0.463
Number of adult males who completed primary education -0.102 0.059 -1.720 0.085
Number of adult females who completed primary education 0.014 0.049 0.280 0.778
Highest level of education of any adult in the household 0.001 0.003 0.160 0.870
Number of income sources 0.077 0.018 4.210 0.000
Dummy for use of any modern agricultural inputs 0.009 0.046 0.200 0.845
Dummy for security of land tenure 0.030 0.096 0.310 0.753
Dummy for food crops -0.016 0.116 -0.140 0.890
Dummy for horticultural crops 0.255 0.051 4.980 0.000
Dummy for cash crops -0.062 0.059 -1.040 0.298
Dummy for presence of markets -0.150 0.039 -3.840 0.000
Dummy for participate in the new extension programme 0.135 0.052 2.600 0.009
Logarithm of landholding size 0.107 0.022 4.930 0.000
Ownership of livestock 0.022 0.036 0.630 0.530
Square of adult equivalent household size 0.006 0.001 8.610 0.000
Dummy variable for Amhara region 0.320 0.080 3.990 0.000
Dummy variable for Oromiya region -0.272 0.074 -3.670 0.000
Dummy variable for Debreziet district 0.970 0.097 9.950 0.000
Dummy variable for Adel Tike district 0.627 0.088 7.150 0.000
Dummy variable for Sodere district 0.520 0.099 5.260 0.000
Dummy variable for Shashemene district 0.453 0.103 4.390 0.000
Dummy variable for Bako district 0.011 0.102 0.110 0.914
Dummy variable for Endibr district -0.403 0.099 -4.080 0.000
Dummy variable for Durame district -0.241 0.102 -2.360 0.018
Constant term 6.864 0.142 48.270 0.000
Regression with robust standard errors Number of obs = 1339
F (37, 1301) = 20.29
Prob > F = 0.000
R-squared = 0.348
Root MSE = 0.576
Demographic variables: From the estimated regression model, it can be seen that there is a strong
negative relationship between real consumption per capita and household size i.e. households with
larger family size have lower per capita food consumption and they are likely to suffer from food
7
shortfall and hence easily vulnerable to shocks. This is true for the five variables measuring the
number of persons in the household, disaggregated by age and sex. It should be noted that the
estimated coefficient of the square of household size is found to statistically significant, suggesting
a U-shaped relationship between consumption per capita and household size. However, the effect
of age and sex of head of household on the per capita consumption is insignificant even at 20%
level.
Education: Results of the regression model show that the number of literate adult males in the
household tends to significantly positively influence the per capita food consumption. However,
number of literate adult females and number of adult males and females who completed primary
education have no significant effects on per capita food consumption.
Employment and income sources:
Per capita food consumption is found to be
insignificantly influenced by the sector (agricultural, industrial, and service) in which
members of the household are employed. Nevertheless, per capita food consumption is
relatively higher in households with more number of persons employed in the service
sector
and lower for those with more members employed by the agricultural sector. Households
with multiple income sources are better off in terms of food consumption and are less susceptible
to shocks. It has been argued that one of the persistent and chronic food insecurity problem in the
country is lack of off-farm employment opportunities.
1
Even if such employment opportunities
exist, they are directly or indirectly influenced by rainfall and other factors such as land tenure and
border conflict.
2
Size of landholding and number of farm animals: While landholding size has significant
positive effects on per capita food consumption, the number of farm animals tends to have
insignificant effects at least at 5%.
Access to infrastructure: As expected participation in the new extension programme has a
positive effect on food consumption per capita. The new extension program involves diffusion of
improved modern inputs such as fertilizer, improved seeds, herbicides etc with close monitoring of
farmers and this would increase productivity and hence crop income.
Although not capture by the model above, HIV/AIDS is now one of the major causes of
vulnerability in both urban and rural areas. A terrible HIV/AIDS crisis is currently killing
the prime labour force of the country, with 10.6 percent of the adult population reported to
be already infected. AIDS is the leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 49, and the
number of AIDS orphans is growing by the day (as reflected by the rising number of street
children in major urban. With the world’s third largest population of HIV/AIDS patients,
the impact of the disease is likely to be more catastrophic than even the worst drought
years. High level of poverty, widespread hopelessness among the youth (due to lack of
employment) and demobilisation of soldiers (which took place twice between 1991 and
2001) has undermined the effort to control the spread of the disease.
1
According to the available evidences, a quarter of households in Amhara region had one or more members
migrate nearby rural areas during dry season in search of work and one in three migrants had difficulty of
securing employment while half back without food or income to their families (FSCO, 1999 cited in
Devereux, 2000).
2
Before the war with Eritrea, many Tigrayans used to travel to Eritrea to labour but this opportunity is lost
following closure of the border (Devereux, 2000).
8
2.4 Food Gap and Food Aid
The imbalance between domestic food production and food demand shows the amount of food
shortfall at national level, which has shown an increasing trend in recent years. It has been
documented that this gap has been largely met via external food aid. The size of food aid has
increased, with significant ups and downs, from 239 thousand metric tons in 1980 to 409 metric
thousand tons in 2001, repressing an average growth rate of about 2.5% per year. The flow of food
aid increased substantially in the 1980s. The highest amount of food aid, accounting for some 27%
of the total domestic food production, was received during the severe drought of 1984. The
average food aid delivered was about 620.7 thousand tons during the 1980s while the figure for the
1990s was 583.1 thousand tons, indicating a slight reduction in food aid dependency. Although
the absolute magnitude of food aid has declined in recent years compared to the early 1980s, food
aid continues to be an important resource in bridging the food gap (Figure 2.5).
Figure 2.5: The share of food aid in domestic food production
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
1980
1981
19
82
1983
1
9
8
4
1
9
8
5
1
9
8
6
1
9
8
7
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1
9
9
6
1
9
9
7
1
9
9
8
1
9
9
9
20
00
2001
Ethiopia was food self-sufficient and used to export food crops until the late 1950s. However, this
trend changed and the country for the first time received food aid in 1959 when drought and crop
infestation affected harvest in some parts of the country (Alemayehu, 1988 cited in Getinet, 1995).
Since then the country has remained one of the major recipient of food aid in the world. Food aid
delivery in Ethiopia has taken the form of emergency, project and program food aid for the most
part.
Emergency food aid: This is urgent food aid delivered in response to natural calamities (floods)
and man-made problems (such as war) which are dominant in the country. Of the total food aid,
more than 70% was in the form of emergency food aid until the 1990s. Components of this
category include storable foodstuffs, tinned, compressed, clothing, provision of fresh water,
treatment of survivors and injured persons.
Project food aid: is mainly used in development related activities in the form of food-for-work
(such activities may include soil and water conservation, afforestation, and other public works) in
which food aid is used as a wage and complimentary feeding projects targeted for groups with
inadequate level of nutrition. In carrying out public works via food-for-work programs, wages are
paid in terms of food (i.e. in kind not in cash) and it is one form of generating employment and
income.
9
Program food aid: refers to food supplied for bulk sale or distribution as part of budgetary or
balance of payment support, price stabilization, or for reserve purposes. In terms of size, this type
of food aid is the least compared to the above two types in Ethiopia.
2.5 Food aid administration, logistics and distribution
The entire food assistance or aid in the country is managed and administered by the Disaster
Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), formerly known as the Relief and
Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), which was established in 1974/75 following the outbreak of
famine in the two northern provinces of Ethiopia, namely, Wollo and Tigray. Since then, it has
undergone several transformations, the latest of which is its re-establishment in August 1995 as the
DPPC under Proclamation No-10/1995. The major objectives of DPPC include prevent disasters
by way of removing the basic causes thereof (i.e. Prevention), build, in advance, the capacity
necessary to alleviate the extent of damages that could be caused by disasters (i.e. Preparedness),
and ensure the timely arrival of necessary assistance to victims of disasters (i.e. Response).
To address these objectives, the Federal Government has adopted a National Policy on Disaster
Prevention and Management (NPDPM) since 1993 which aims at tackling disasters and ensuring
that famine situations are addressed in ways that reduce people’s vulnerability to disasters. The
National Disaster Prevention and preparedness Strategy (NDPPS) provides the institutional
framework for drought-induced mitigation and prevention and setting the broad outlines of a move
from relief to development that puts Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) at the center of its
implementation modalities targeted at food insecure and able bodied.
3
Within this policy
framework and strategy, the major activities of the DPPC include the following (DPPC, 2001):
Prevention: The first important function of the DPPC is to tackle root causes of vulnerability to
disasters and to promote food security, i.e. prevention. This can be done in the form of promoting
Employment Generation Schemes (EGS), which are the main mechanisms through which relief is
provided to able-bodied disaster victims in exchange for work. EGS help build assets and reduce
the risk of vulnerability of the would be affected populations. Many development works have been
undertaken in different regions using relief food through EGS. The development efforts currently
being undertaken towards overcoming famine conditions and attaining food self-sufficiency have
already demonstrated positive effects. The government has further formulated a food security
program, for which EGS is one of the major instruments contributing to the efforts of
attaining food security at the household level.
Preparedness: Preparedness, which is another function of the Commission, refers to building up
of capabilities to mitigate the negative effects of disasters. The major preparedness modalities are
Early Warning System (EWS), Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), National Disaster
Prevention and Preparedness Fund (NDPPF) and Logistics. Some of the key preparedness
components have already been in place. At present, maximum efforts are being exerted to further
strengthen them. Highlights of the major preparedness modalities are given below.
Early Warning System (EWS): The Ethiopian EWS, which was established in 1976, is a
management information system that uses data from and provides information to a large number of
government and non-governmental agencies. It is an inter-agency management information system
which involves different relevant government institutions. The system has been decentralized
according to the regionalization policy and bottom-up planning approach since 1993. It is now
3
The major strengths and weakness of the current food security strategy can be found in Senait Seyoum
(2001).
10
operational at federal, regional, zonal (Zonal DPPC (ZDPPC)) and woreda (district or Woreda
DPPC (WDPPC)) levels.
The main objective of the EWS is “to provide timely and accurate early warning information on
impending and actual emergencies, so that swift, appropriate and effective measures can be taken
to avoid suffering.” The focus of the System is on identification of areas and population groups
needing relief assistance. As part of the regular activity of the programme, all relevant indicators of
food security are monitored often on a monthly basis culminating in an annual nation-wide crop
assessments. Pastoral area assessments are also carried out in the livestock dependent regions,
while disaster assessments are conducted as and when emergency situations arise. Early warning
reports are regularly issued and distributed to the Government, donors and the international
community (Ibid, 2001).
Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR): The Reserve was first established in 1982 as a
project within the then Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC). In view of revitalizing the
operation and functioning of the EFSR as one of the major preparedness modalities in disaster
management, it was re-institutionalized in 1992 as an autonomous entity whereby donors are
represented in the decision making body over the management and utilization of commodities in
the reserve. The objective of the EFSR is to provide adequate capacity to prevent disasters through
provision of loans of food and non-food emergency items to agencies that are engaged in relief
activities. At present, there are five Food Reserve locations: Nazareth, Kombolcha, Shashemene,
Dire Dawa and Mekelle. The present physical capacity of the warehouses for the Food Reserve
stands at 224,000 MT and additional warehouses with a capacity of 91,500 MT are under
construction.
The National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Fund: A National Disaster Prevention and
Preparedness Fund (NDPPF), which has the objective of maintaining a readily available cash
reserve for a quick response to emergency situations, has been established. The Fund also aims to
cover funding shortfalls for development programmes. It provides drawal rights to regions and
implementing NGOs to support relief programmes based on prioritized needs in the event that
resources required for such programmes cannot be secured in time. The Fund is to operate mainly
as a revolving fund through loans.
Logistics: It is clear that timely response to disaster crucially depends on the effectiveness of
logistically infrastructure. In this regard, the Commission used to transport relief cargo to different
distribution sites through its own Relief Transport Projects (RTPs), NGOs and UN transport fleets
had also played a significant role in this regard. However, in line with the free-market economic
policy of the Government the RTPs, NGOs and UN trucks have been
privatized. Since then, the
DPPC and its partners have been able to dispatch relief food and other emergency items to disaster
prone areas using the private sector trucks. Given the poor infrastructure in the country, however,
full reliance on the private sector for the transport of emergency relief items particularly, to remote
areas is not possible. The Government has recently established Emergency Relief Transport
Enterprise in order to avoid the risk of delays and subsequent consequences in relief delivery.
Emergency responses: During emergencies, timely relief interventions such as provision of food,
potable water, shelter and medical services to disaster victims are undertaken with the aim of
saving lives. After emergency situations, recovery and rehabilitation measures through provision
of draught oxen, seeds and hand tools in cropping areas and to some extent, restocking of depleted
livestock resources in the pastoral areas are also required to be undertaken in order to sustain the
livelihoods of victims.
11
As indicated earlier, demand for food aid is estimated at woreda (district) level. When a disaster is
about to happen in a certain woreda, the Woreda DDPC (WDDPC) assesses and review the degree
as well as the coverage of the event and then submit to the Zonal DPPC. The ZDPPC, after
reviewing and appraising woreda reports and identifying the affected population, will submit a
summarized report to the regional DPPC (RDPPC). The RDPPC through its Releif and
Rehabilitation Bureau (RRB) will compile zonal reports and work out regional logistics including
transportation of relief commodities and submit it to the national DPPC. Finally, the NDPPC will
appraise, prioritise and approve regional reports and channel resources accordingly to regions. The
contribution of NGOs involved in relief activities will be determined by the national DPPC.
Regional DPPCs receive food aid, from the center, which has come from different donors, and
then each region allocates relief commodities to affected woredas.
It should be noted that although the need for food aid is inevitable given low domestic food
production, the cost of food aid appears to be substantial in terms of administration and transport
costs as these costs are covered by the Ethiopian government. It has been documented that
government spends (in the form of operation cost and support) on average USD 312.5 million per
year on food aid and this represents 5.1% of GDP and 17.4% of total government expenditure
during the period covering 1994-2002 (Table 2.5). This indicates that not only does food aid has
impact on agricultural sector in terms of depressing the local prices but also but also it has a huge
budgetary implications that drains limited government resources.
Table 2.5: Cost of food aid (in million USD)
Year
Total expenditure on food aid
('000' USD)
Expenditure on food aid as %
of GDP
Expenditure on food aid as %
of total government
expenditure
1994 369.00 6.81 27.54
1995 281.70 4.69 19.47
1996 137.80 2.16 8.94
1997 176.60 2.70 10.82
1998 253.70 3.93 12.58
1999 369.00 5.79 17.49
2000 656.20 10.52 34.45
2001 303.80 5.05 14.63
2002 264.90 4.00 10.99
Source: Tassew, 2004
2.6 Food Security in Ethiopia
The definition of food security which has been developed since 1970s has undergone significant
transformations. The initial concern of food security was on global, regional and national food
supply or stocks in which food security was conceived as the adequacy of food supply at these
levels. Such conceptualization of food security
focuses on aggregate supply of food but overlooks
the micro-level food access. In other words, food security at a global or national level does not
guarantee and ensure food security at a household or community level which necessitates the
inclusion of households at the centre of food security concept.
Food security is attained when all people at all time have the physical and economical access to
sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active
12
and healthy life, without undue risk of losing such access
4
. In this definition, people can have
access to food via production, purchase, exchange or gifts. It has been argued that households may
fail to command access of sufficient food due to inadequate landholding, opportunities of off-
employment, access to credit and other inputs and these people are vulnerable groups of the
society. Sufficiency indicates the calories necessary for an active and healthy life, and availability,
which is the supply-side indicator of food security, refers to sufficient supplies of food of
appropriate quality are continuously available (stability indicator of food security) for individuals.
With average adult equivalent per capita daily caloric consumption estimated by FAO to be
approximately 1810 kcal – i.e., among the lowest in the world
5
, a large number of Ethiopians are
clearly not consuming sufficient food to be able to lead productive healthy lives. The estimates
range between a third and half of the total population in this category.
Depending on time dimension, food insecurity, a situation in which individuals do not have the
physical nor economic access to the nourishment they need, can be chronic or transitory. The
former occurs when there is a constant failure of food acquisition while the latter refers to a
temporary failure of acquisition caused by drought, war, short-term variability in food prices,
production, and incomes. The consequences of household food insecurity are as many as its causes
which require different responses. Poor households are the most food insecure households and they
are highly prone to shocks. In rural areas, households who do not have land, oxen, headed by
female households, elderly, and newly established settlers are food insecure households.
Unemployed people, single-family-headed households with dependents, elderly people living
alone, and destitute and homeless people are food insecure in urban Ethiopia (Table 2.6).
Table 2.6: Classification of food insecure households in Ethiopia
Rural Households Urban Households Others
Chronic
Landless or land scarce
Without oxen
Poor pastoralists
Female-headed households
Elderly
Poor non-agricultural households
Newly established settlers
Low income urban households
outside the labour market
Elderly
Displaced
Households-headed by female
HIV/AIDS victim families
Refugees
Ex-soldiers
Transitory
Farmers and other on drought
prone areas
Pastoralists
Less resource poor households
vulnerable to shocks (not drought)
Others vulnerable to economic
shocks in low potential areas
Urban poor vulnerable to
shocks
Groups affected temporarily
Civil unrest
Source: Food security strategy, 1996
In any one year, more than five million people are enlisted for a daily relief food per annum over
the last decade. A combination of factors has resulted in serous and growing problem of food
insecurity. According to the government report (MOFED, 2002), ‘adverse climatic changes
(droughts) combined with high population pressure, environmental degradation, technological and
institutional factors have led to a decline in the size of per capita land holding. This was
4
World Food Summit Plan of Action, Rome 1996; available at
http:/www.fao.org/docrep/003/w3613e00.htm#PoA
5
Compared to Chad – 2140; North Korea – 2080; India – 2430. 1997-99 data from FAO, 2001 as quoted in
Barry Riley, et al. 2002. The Impact Of Title Ii Food Aid On Food Security In Ethiopia, United States
Agency for International Development Food and Humanitarian Affairs Office, Consultancy Report,
USAID/Ethiopia..
13
exacerbated by policy induced stagnation of agriculture and internal conflict and instability in the
past resulting into the widening of the food gap for more than two decades, which had to be
bridged by food aid.’
The Government has adopted a three-pronged strategy of increasing the availability of food
through domestic production, ensuring access to food for food deficit households, and
strengthening emergency response capabilities. In what follows, an attempt will be made to
examine the food security situation of the country by analysing domestic food production,
consumption and food gap.
2.7 Trends in the number of food-assisted people
The frequency of drought has increased in recent years, leading to a substantial increase in the
number of relief food assisted people. For instance, relief food assisted population increased from
2.8 million in 1980/81 to 7.9 million in 1991/92 and to 10.6 million in 1999/00 (Table 2.7
). In
particular, marginal
and drier areas gained very little from the new extension approach and increasingly
became dependent on food aid and daily survival activities. The drought in 2002/03, believed to be one of
the worst since 1984/85, affected over 14 million (22% of the total population). Food production is estimated
to have declined by 20 percent and a total of 1.7 million tons of food aid was required to save lives. The US
alone gave USD 500 million worth food aid.
Table 2.7: Drought/disaster affected population
Year Disaster/drought affected population
(million)
Proportion affected (%)
1980/81 2.82 7.7
1981/82 3.70 9.8
1982/83 3.30 8.5
1983/84 4.21 10.5
1984/85 6.99 17.0
1985/86 6.14 14.5
1986/87 2.53 5.8
1987/88 4.16 9.3
1988/89 5.35 11.6
1989/90 3.21 6.8
1990/91 7.22 14.8
1991/92 7.85 15.6
1992/93 4.97 9.6
1993/94 6.70 12.6
1994/95 3.99 7.3
1995/96 2.78 4.9
1996/97 3.36 5.8
1997/98 4.10 6.8
1998/99 7.19 11.7
1999/00 10.56 16.6
2000/01 6.24 9.6
Average 5.37 10.3
2002/03 14.3 22.0
Food availability in Ethiopia has been below requirements for the last two decades or so,
with per capita food grains availability around 135kg per year, and daily kilocalorie
consumption at around 1750, representing only three-fourth of the total nutritional
requirement. In particular, people living in the drought prone areas of Eastern and Central
14
Zone of Tigray (Tigray region), Wello, North Gondar and North Shoa (Amhara region),
and Borena, and Haraghe (Oromiya region) are severely affected by lack of food.
The number of people requiring food assistance is largest in Amhara, Oromiya and Tigray regions,
accounting for about 71% of the total food aid recipients during the period 1994–2003. On
average, about 1.6 million people required food assistance in the Amhara region over the period
from 1994 to 2003. The corresponding figures for Oromiya and Tigray regions were 1.4 and 1.1
million, respectively. Even during good agricultural years such as 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2002, the
number of people requiring food assistance in the three regions was more than 2 million, implying
that there are structural problems such as limited access to technology and markets as well as
minimal employment opportunities, besides recurrent drought (Table 2.8).
The proportion of food-aid dependent population was highest in Tigray (on average 31% during
the period 1994-2003) followed by Somali (8%), Afar (17%) and Ben-Gambella (16%) (Table
2.8). The percent of food insecure population increased significantly during poor agricultural years
such as 2000 and 2003. Farm households most affected in each region are asset-poor with limited
access to arable land, low productivity and insufficient purchasing power to secure their food
requirements from the market.
Table 2.8: Regional distribution of relief food assisted population (in '000')
Region\Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Average
Tigray 1085.00 764.40 751.20 675.00 1201.00 998.40 1717.80 938.50 917.20 2011.40 1105.99
(34.87) (23.87) (22.80) (19.92) (34.46) (27.86) (46.60) (24.75) (23.52) (50.15) (30.88)
Amahara 2096.80 1201.60 868.00 822.10 2022.20 278.70 3569.80 2130.00 172.50 3123.00 1628.47
(15.28) (8.51) (5.97) (5.50) (13.15) (1.76) (21.94) (12.73) (1.00) (17.64) (10.35)
Oromiya 1995.00 902.00 395.40 547.80 709.60 1562.50 1902.80 1129.00 1051.40 3733.70 1392.92
(10.75) (4.71) (2.00) (2.69) (3.38) (7.22) (8.53) (4.91) (4.44) (15.28) (6.39)
SNNPR 840.00 822.00 361.40 331.70 0.00 718.50 1410.00 869.80 303.30 1439.30 709.60
(8.17) (7.74) (3.29) (2.93) (0.00) (5.95) (11.30) (6.75) (2.28) (10.48) (5.89)
Afar 215.00 100.00 50.00 264.20 0.00 160.60 306.60 127.70 22.50 786.20 203.28
(20.41) (9.27) (4.53) (23.36) (0.00) (13.54) (25.25) (10.27) (1.77) (60.32) (16.87)
Somali 250.00 100.00 210.00 600.00 50.00 864.80 1489.70 981.00 894.80 1063.50 650.38
(7.90) (3.08) (6.30) (17.55) (1.43) (24.04) (40.37) (25.91) (23.04) (26.70) (17.63)
Beni-shangul-Gumuz 83.00 20.00 35.00 13.10 0.00 0.00 4.20 0.00 9.00 0.00 16.43
(18.13) (4.26) (7.26) (2.65) (0.00) (0.00) (0.79) (0.00) (1.60) (0.00) (3.47)
Gambella 27.00 10.00 25.00 41.50 72.30 17.00 46.60 0.00 32.80 58.40 33.06
(14..99) (5.41) (13.17) (21.30) (36.15) (8.28) (22.12) (0.00) (14.78) (25.65) (16.32)
Source: FDRE, 2003, The New Coalition for Food Security in Ethiopia, vol. I.
Note: Figures in parentheses refer to the share of food-assisted population from the respective total regional
population.
15
2.8 Malnutrition and under-nutrition
Emerging evidences indicate that about 30 million Ethiopians live in absolute poverty, consuming
below the recommended daily nutritional requirement and unable to satisfy basic non-food
requirements (Berhanu, 2003). It has also been documented that domestic food production falls
short of domestic food demand, leading to increased food gap and low level of nutritional intake.
The level of malnourishment is high, particularly in rural Ethiopia due to food shortage. Children
in particular are significantly affected during periods of food deficit and many have died during
drought and famine. The effects of food shortage on children can be manifested in the form of
wasting and stunting, which are indicators of child malnutrition. According to recent evidences,
wasting which is a short-run indicator of child malnutrition, increased from 9.2% in 1995/96 to
9.6% in 1999/00. The situation is worse in rural areas where child wasting increased from 9.5% in
1995/96 to 9.9% in 1999/00. On the other hand, child stunting, a long-run measure of child
malnutrition, declined from 66.6% in 1995/96 to 56.8% in 1999/00. It decreased in both rural and
urban areas (Table 2.9) but remained very high even by the standard of African countries
6
.
Table 2.9: Child wasting and stunting in Ethiopia (children aged between 6-59 months)
Short-run child malnutrition Long-run child malnutrition Location
1995/96 1999/00 199596 1999/00
Rural 9.5 9.9 68.4 57.9
Urban 6.8 6.1 55.9 44.5
National 9.2 9.6 66.6 56.8
Source: MOFED, 2002
2.9 Trends in poverty levels
Poverty still poses a major challenge in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa
where there is no sign of improvement in major socio-economic indicators. Thus, poverty
reduction has received increased attention by bilateral and multilateral development agencies in the
late 1990s. Even though it has been a major social and economic concern of developing countries,
poverty continues to be a major impediment to human development and economic progress of
these countries. An increasing number of people in these countries face unemployment, famine,
illiteracy, inadequate shelter, illness and other forms of deprivation, which are the various
dimensions of poverty. The central strategy choice is between poverty reduction via faster
economic growth and reduction through redistribution, though the two may be complementary.
The household income, consumption and expenditure surveys provide useful information on
income, consumption and poverty levels in Ethiopia. According to recent evidences, agricultural
enterprise is the main source of income for the rural population while wages, salaries, bonuses,
overtime and allowances are sources of income for urban households in 1999/2000 (MOFED,
2002). Table 2.10 compares the structure of national, rural and urban household income and food
consumption in 199596 and 1999/2000. Rural per capita income has decreased from Birr 1035.33
in 1995/96 to Birr 994.71 in 1999/2000 at a rate of 0.8% per annum. Urban per capita income, on
the other hand, has increased marginally from Birr 1411.32 in 1995/96 to Birr 1456.71 in
1999/2000, representing a 0.6% annual average increase. It has been indicated that food accounted
for a significant proportion of households’ total expenditure in both rural and urban areas. It
6
For instance, child stunting in Ethiopia was reported as the worst (51%), along with the war-torn
Angola, among African countries in 1999-00 by the 2004 African Development Indicators of the
World Bank.
16
accounted for, on average, 60% in 1995/96 and 65% in 1999/2000 (MEDaC, 1999; MOFED,
2002).
Table 2.10: Structure of household income and food consumption (percent)
1995/96 1999/2000 Description\Year
Income per
capita (in Birr)
Food Consumption
(%)
Income per capita
(in Birr)
Food
Consumption (%)
Rural households 1035.33 60 994.73 67
Urban households 1411.32 56 1452.54 56
National 1087.83 60 1056.71 65
Source: MEDaC, 1999 and MOFED, 2002
Table 2.11 shows that the national per capita consumption expenditures in real terms were
Birr 1088 and Birr1057, respectively, during 1995/96 and 1999/2000, indicating that real
per capita consumption expenditure has decreased marginally in 1999/2000. The rural per
capita food consumption has increased while it has slightly decreased in urban areas in
1999/2000. However, the difference in both rural and urban areas is not statistically
significant. It should also be noted that income inequality is low in rural as well as urban
areas of Ethiopia.
Table 2.11: Real annual consumption expenditure (in Birr)
1995/96 1999/2000 Description
Rural Urban Nationa
l
Rural Urban Nationa
l
Real food expenditure per capita 577 790 607 609 631 612
Real total expenditure per capita 1035 1411 1088 995 1453 1057
Real food expenditure per adult 697 947 732 774 767 773
Real non-food expenditure per adult 561 750 588 495 993 562
Real total expenditure per adult 1250 1693 1312 1261 1751 1327
Kilo calorie consumed per day per
adult
7
1938 2050 1954 2723 1861 2606
Share of food in total expenditure (in
%)
60 56 60 67 53 65
Gini coefficient (consumption) 0.27 0.34 0.29 0.26 0.38 0.28
Source: MOFED, 2002
Poverty indices have been estimated in terms of the minimum calorie for subsistence, i.e., 2200
kcal and accordingly, Birr 1075 is taken as the absolute poverty index of the country. The results
show that, on aggregate, all indicators of poverty indices have decreased in 1999/2000 as
compared to 1995/96 (see Table 2.12). However, that there are no statistically significant changes
in the head count indices of rural, urban as well as national poverty between the two periods.
Table 2.12: Trends in poverty
1995/96 1999/2000 Description
Rural Urban National Rural Urban National
Head count index (P
o
) 0.475 0.332 0.455 0.454 0.369 0.442
Poverty gap index (P
1
) 0.134 0.099 0.129 0.122 0.101 0.119
7
It should be noted that calorie in take rural areas has increased from 1938 in 1995/96 to 2723 in 1999/00 at
a rate of 41% just within five years. Both the rural and the national calorie intake figures are over and above
the recommended level of 2200 in 1999/2000. This might be due to data problem, otherwise difficult to
justify.
17
Squared poverty gap (P
2
) 0.053 0.041 0.051 0.046 0.039 0.045
Source: MOFED, 2002
2.10 National food security strategy
In Ethiopia, attempts are made to ensure that all citizens have a right to aid in times of
crisis. A key focus of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) is to
prevent a repeat of occurrence of the types of famines that struck Ethiopia in the 1970s
and 1980s in which thousands of people died.
Since information is critical for providing assistance, a number of institutions are engaged
in disaster early warning, baseline information and food security surveillance activities. In
addition to DPPC, government agencies engaged in such activities include the Central
Statistical Agency, the Welfare Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development, and various line ministries. Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) of the
USAID produces a monthly food security report using secondary data generated through
the Early Warning Working Group consisting of DPPC, Save the Children – UK, World
Food Programme (WFP), CARE and other government and non-governmental
organizations. FEWS also makes use of satellite imagery for spatial analysis, which it
receives directly from NASA and NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Agency) every ten days. WFP’s Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) department
uses state of the art mapping technologies to identify areas where people are most
vulnerable to hunger and to estimate their needs. The annual FAO/WFP Crop and Food
Supply Assessment mission (October/November) estimates national cereal and pulse
production, import requirements and needs for emergency food aid (Lautze, et al, 2003).
Despite the numerous early warning and surveillance systems and the long history of the
early warning system of DPPC, there is no working capacity for meta-analysis of the
different data and no single organization utilizes the full range of information generated.
The objective is to identify only numbers needing various levels of emergency food aid
without indicating the nature and causes of vulnerability among diverse livelihood. This
has become a regular task of DPPC and emergency food aid appeals have been made in
years of bumper harvest and deficit alike in almost ritualistic fashion. In deed, not a single
year has passed, in its 27 years of existence, when the Commission has not made an appeal
for emergency food aid (Lautze, et al, 2003).
Distribution of food assistance has received as much attention as early warning and
surveillance system since the 1983/84 famine. The process by which areas and households
are selected to receive emergency food aid has also been blamed for the limited impact of
food distribution programs. Targeting the real poor has not been easy as different districts
apply different criteria in distributing relief: some give it to all households for the sake of
social cohesion and generalized need, hence no one actually receiving sufficient quantities
to have the intended effect, while others attempt to target the poorest of the poor using
asset ownership as the major criterion. A study by Clay et al (1999) found that there were
large errors of inclusion and exclusion in the selection of districts as well as households.
The primary beneficiaries were found to be the relatively most well-off and the poorest,
with the middle two groups were excluded. The former group appears to be using its
18
status and resources to influence food aid distribution. It has also been observed that
livestock holdings are considered as the only criterion in many areas and a significant
number of households sell livestock to qualify for relief distribution (Lautze, et al, 2003).
In 2003/04, budget requested for food security increased significantly, accounting for 57%
of the total allocated for food security, agriculture and natural resources. The budget for
food security is intended to finance the operation of the Disaster Prevention and
Preparedness Commission (DPPC) for the purpose of administration, general services,
early warning department, and management of information services. Resettlement
activities are also expected to constitute a major component of the food security programs.
The government is hoping that a significant proportion of the capital budget allocated for
food security will be financed through donations (54%) and loan funds (13%).
8
Past
experience, however, shows that aid and loans do not come on time and actual expenditure
is bound to be much lower (Tassew, 2004).
8
About 91% of the total budget (1.8 billion birr) is planned for capital budget.
19
SECTION THREE: IMPORTANCE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE SECTOR AND
PUBLIC SUPPORT
This section mainly focuses on examining the performance of the economy in general and that of
agricultural sector in particular in terms of growth rates both at aggregate and sectoral levels. The
situation of food security in the country will be assessed by looking at food supply and demand needs
of the country. The pattern of food aid and procedure in bridging the gap between food supply and
demand will be examined. The premise of this section is that growth of domestic food production
matters to ensure food security in a sustainable manner in a landlocked country such as Ethiopia.
Without adequate domestic food production, it is difficult to sustain improvements in human welfare.
3.1 Overview of the Economy
The available evidence indicates that the tempo of economic growth over the last three decades was
unsatisfactory. Regardless of the policy regimes, real total GDP has been growing at rate of 2.60%
during 1960-2002. On the other hand, population had been growing on average by 2.71% during the
same period, implying a 0.11% decline in the growth rate of per capita income per annum. In terms of
sectoral growth rates, agricultural GDP, industrial GDP, and service GDP grew on average by 1.35%,
3.35%, and 4.70% per annum, respectively, during the period 1960-2002.
Classifying economic performance by regime reveals important information about the pattern of
growth as shown in Table 3.1. The period 1960-1973, representing the Imperial era, witnessed liberal
type of economic policy while the period 1973-1991 was marked by planned economic system. The
third regime, 1992-2002, is a period of more liberal economic system similar to the first regime. The
performance of the economy was the worst during the second regime when real GDP registered an
average growth rate of 1.84% per annum. All sectors, especially agriculture, performed very badly
during this period. On other hand, the performance of the economy has shown improvement in the
1990s: real GDP grew on average by about 4.18%. However, the performance of agriculture was very
poor in this regime too: it recorded an average growth rate of 1.53%. Indeed, the performance of
agriculture in the first regime was better than the latter two regimes.
Table 3.1: Growth Episodes, 1960 – 2002 (in percent)
Regime I Regime II Regime III Average
Sector/Year
1960-1973 1974-1991 1992-2002 1960-2002
Real GDP at constant factor cost
3.71 1.84 4.18 2.60
Agriculture
2.10 0.70 1.53 1.35
Industry
7.04 2.81 7.74 3.35
Services
7.33 3.44 6.97 4.70
Source: Own computation from EEA/EEPRI database
The sector which accounted for a lion’s share of the national economy made little contribution to the
growth of the economy. Decomposing the growth of the economy into different sectors showed that
agriculture contributed only 0.98% of the growth of the national economy while industry and services
20
contributed 0.47% and 1.75%, respectively, during the period 1960-2002.
9
The growth of the
economy was largely attributed to the growth of the service sector. The growth in the service sector
was in turn attributed to expansion in administration and defence expenditures. It had little to do with
expansion in health services (believed to improve stock of capital) and improvement in trade, transport
and communications services (believed to widen markets) (Zerihun, 2003).
Although the economy has shown better performance in the 1990s, the improvements failed to be
sustained as the economy continued to suffer from fluctuations in weather conditions. Figure 3.1
shows the pattern of GDP annual growth rates of agricultural, industrial and service sub-sectors. The
pattern shows that agricultural GDP has been highly unstable probably due to war, drought, and policy
failures. It also portrays the variability in the growth rates of industrial and service GDP, although the
extent of fluctuations is lower than agriculture.
Figure 3.1: Pattern of GDP growth rate of agricultural, industrial and service sectors (at constant
prices) over the period 1962-2002
-30%
-20%
-10%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
1961/62 1967/68 1973/74 1979/80 1985/86 1991/92 1997/98
Year
Growth rates (in %)
Agriculture Industry Services
Source: Own calculation from EEA/EEPRI database
A look at the pattern of growth rates by regime reveals that the growth rate of agriculture was
relatively stable during the imperial era (1961-1973) while other sectors were highly subject to
9
The contribution of each sector to the national economy can be determined using the simple total factor productivity
accounting technique. Let Y denotes real GDP; Y
A
Y
I
and Y
S
refer, respectively, to agricultural GDP, Industrial GDP and
Service GDP. From the national income accounts,
SIA
YYYY ++=
Taking the total derivate of Y and dividing both sides of the equation by Y and rearranging yields,
+
+
=
Y
Y
Y
dY
Y
Y
Y
dY
Y
Y
Y
dY
Y
dY
S
S
SI
I
IA
A
A
***
The above specification can be reduced to
SSIIAA
SrSrSrg ++= where g is the growth rate of real GDP; r
A
, r
I
and r
S
refere to, respectively, the growth rates of
agriculture, industry and services. And S
A
, S
I
and S
S
are the shares of agriculture, industry and services, respectively.
21
substantial fluctuations. On the other hand, the degree of volatility was high during the period
covering 1973-1991 and 1992-2002 when the growth rates of all sectors were invariably unstable. The
latter two regimes (1974-1991 and 1992-2002) can be characterized as periods of significant ups and
downs in the levels of economic activities.
The pattern of aggregate consumption expenditure, investment and domestic savings over the last four
decades has been closely related to the poor performance of the economy as shown in Table 3.2.
Aggregate domestic consumption expenditure as a proportion of GDP was on average 91.5% during
the period between 1960 and 2002. The figure has increased from about 86% in 1960-1973 to 96% in
1992-2002 representing very low rates of savings. If population growth is taken into consideration,
then per capita private expenditure has been progressively declining during the indicated period,
implying stagnation of the economy. Private consumption accounts for a significant proportion of the
total domestic expenditure and it does not show variability from one regime to other (i.e. the average
private consumption expenditure as a percentage of GDP remained about 78%).
Table 3.2: Trends in other macroeconomic indicators (in percent)
Demand and savings 1960-1973 1974-1991 1992-2002 1960-2002
Aggregate domestic consumption 85.85 93.14 95.83 91.46
Government consumption 8.40 15.13 16.11 13.19
Private consumption 77.46 78.01 79.72 78.27
Gross capital formation 15.94 13.03 17.28 15.07
Gross domestic saving 14.15 6.86 4.17 8.54
The trends of gross domestic savings (GDS) and gross investment (GDI) reveal important information:
Gross capital information as a percentage of GDP declined from about 15.9% in 1960-1973 to 13.0%
in 1974-1991 and then increased to 17.3% in 1992-2002 (Table 2.3). Gross domestic saving show a
similar trend, i.e. it decreased from 14.2% in 1960-1973 to 6.9% in 1974-1991 and 4.2% in 1992-
2002. The gap between investment and domestic saving has widened over time. For instance, domestic
saving used to finance more than 85% of the investment during the period 1960-1973: the gap which
was less than 2% of GDP during the period 1960-1973 increased to more than 12% of GDP in 1992-
2002. The economy is becoming more dependent on external sources for financing investment
projects.
The available evidence suggests that inflation has never been out of control in Ethiopia (See Table
3.3). It has been checked within single digits, usually below 5% except in 1994/95 (MOFED, 2002).
However, price movements in the country are highly correlated with agricultural production
(especially food production). For instance, inflation rate was 0.9% in 1995/96 while it was 4.2% in
1999/2000). A favourable weather condition and bumper harvest in 1995/96 led to low food prices.
The year 1999/2000, on the other hand, was marked by drought with low agricultural production and
relatively higher food prices. The national inflation rate was below zero (–7.2%) in 2000/2001 due to
good weather condition and improved performance of the food sub-sector.
Table 3.3: Trends in inflation (%)
1997/98 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03
National 3.9 4.8 6.2 -5.2 -7.2 15.1
Urban 4.3 4.8 5.7 -3.5
Rural 3.8 3.7 3.8 -8.1
Source: NBE, 2003/04
22
3.2. Importance and Performance of the Food and Agriculture Sector
Agriculture remains the main activity in the Ethiopian economy. It is the most important contributor to
the country’s GDP: accounted, on the average, 65.5%, 52.7% and 47.1% of the GDP during 1960-
1973, 1974-1991 and 1992-2002, respectively. Agriculture accounts for about 90% of the total export
earnings of the country. About two-third of the total foreign exchange earnings is generated from
coffee export. Exports from the livestock products that include mainly hides and skins, live animals
and leather products are other main source of foreign exchange.
Although the employment share of agriculture has declined over time (from 89% in 1984 to 80% in
1999.
1011
), it is still the main source of livelihood for a sizable majority of the proportion of the
population: over 80% of the population earns their living from the sector. The employment share of
agriculture has tended to decline, although slightly. There seems to be some shift to other sectors of
the economy, particularly to the wholesale, retail trade and catering services (from ~4% in 1984 to
~10% in 1999). Undoubtedly, given its importance in the overall economy as a generator of income
and employment, agriculture is potentially a vital sector in the country to achieve self-sufficiency in
food production, reduce rural poverty and trigger a sustainable economic development.
Agricultural production is dominated by smallholder households which produce more than 90% of
agricultural output and cultivate more than 90% of the total cropped land. Smallholders drive their
income either in cash or through own-consumption from agricultural production. According to the
national accounts, the agricultural sector consists of crop, livestock, fishery and forestry sub-sectors.
Crop production is the dominant sub-sector within agriculture, accounting for more than 60% of the
agricultural GDP followed by livestock which contributes more than 20% of the agricultural GDP.
The contributions of forestry, hunting and fishing do not exceed 10%.
3.2.1 Crop sub-sector
Crop production is mainly exercised in the highland areas where the climate is suitable for sedentary
agriculture. The sub-sector is dominated by small-scale farmers who cultivate less than one hectare of
land under rain-fed farming system (see section IV).
Because of the diverse agro-ecological zones, topography and natural vegetations, Ethiopian small
farmers have developed complex farming methods and cropping patterns. Accordingly, seven different
cereal crops, six pulse crops, seven oilseed crops, and a number of different other and tree crops are
grown. Diversification has allowed farmers to cope with the drought or erratic rains but identifying the
right technological package for the various ecologies and crops has been of considerable challenge to
researchers and extension systems.
Details on total crop production, area harvested and yield are given in Table 3.4. Cereal production
grew by a mere 0.74% per annum (using long linear growth rate) between 1980 and 2001. The growth
rates of pulses and oilseeds were even lower, 0.5 to 0.6% per annum. More importantly,
extensification (area expansion) rather than intensification (yield increase) has been the major
contributing factor in the increase in production. Over the period 1980-2001, yield of cereals, pulses
11
It should be noted that the 1984 employment share is based on the Population and Housing Census while the
1999 share is based on the National Labour Survey (CSA, 1984, 1999).
23
and oilseeds increased by only 0.17, 0.15 and 0.10% per annum, respectively, while the cultivated area
for cereals, pulses and oilseeds increased annually by 0.57, 0.45, and 0.39% respectively. Hence, 78%
of the growth in cereal production for the period 1980-2001 was achieved by extensification.
Likewise, area expansion accounts for 76% and 80% of the growth in production of pulses and
oilseeds, respectively. Therefore, the growth rate of area under cultivation has a much higher share in
the growth rate of production for all crops than the growth rate of yield
12
.
12
The growth rate (in log linear) of production is the sum of the growth rates of area under cultivation and yield
per hectare.
24
Table 3.4: Nation wide total area harvested, production and yield of Cereals, Pulses and Oil seeds
CEREALS PULSES OIL SEEDS
Total
Production
Total Area
Harvested
Cereal
yield
Total
Production
Total Area
Harvested
Pulses
yield
Total
Production
Total Area
Harvested
Oilseed
yield
YEAR In ( ' 000
quintals)
In ( ' 000
hectares)
qt/ha in ( ' 000
quintals)
in ( ' 000
hectares)
qt/ha in ( ' 000
quintals)
in ( ' 000
hectares)
1980 53214.9 4501.236
11.82
8682.613 749.204
11.59
971.072 190.082
5.11
1981 50833.49 4384.166
11.59
8412.205 801.949
10.49
816.421 223.552
3.65
1982 64058.1 4777.449
13.41
9918.659 808.116
12.27
1246.418 260.894
4.78
1983 55019.31 4735.654
11.62
7342.502 784.935
9.35
1000.75 260.378
3.84
1984 39372.13 4535.617
8.68
5125.275 756.601
6.77
1024.201 279.578
3.66
1985 44192.51 4688.208
9.43
4829.103 692.426
6.97
992.921 289.304
3.43
1986 52363.77 4519.559
11.59
5431.51 593.854
9.15
822.885 211.885
3.88
1987 51105.21 4340.569
11.77
5338.517 699.863
7.63
773.578 188.129
4.11
1988 50754.51 4133.632
12.28
5574.606 610.266
9.14
719.936 203.327
3.54
1989 54438.72 4141.129
13.15
6319.359 598.883
10.55
897.243 224.186
4.00
1990 54265.74 3976.603
13.65
9778.026 687.582
14.22
995.884 248.003
4.01
1991 46584.79 3911.863
11.91
6366.677 714.622
8.91
887.431 212.313
4.18
1992 53186.79 3961.72
13.43
5956.071 723.73
8.23
719.071 215.019
3.34
1993 52737.34 4084.585
12.91
5352.903 725.166
7.38
788.076 207.323
3.80
1994 64188.31 5993.088
10.71
8055.569 916.255
8.79
1202.089 350.125
3.43
1995 82697.14 6652.56
12.43
8141.44 904.39
9.00
1952.61 391.58
4.99
1996 86293.32 6688.56
12.90
8026.28 905.35
8.87
2132.79 478.45
4.46
1997 64987.83 5601.88
11.60
6801.92 837.61
8.12
1836.96 410.01
4.48
1998 76829.91 6744.71
11.39
7319.76 875.38
8.36
1567.4 374.78
4.18
1999 77412.63 6747.46
11.47
9594.49 1044.98
9.18
1794.91 408
4.40
2000 92960.34 7636.65
12.17
10736.14 1233.94
8.70
2383.3 561.37
4.25
2001 87068.28 6370.11 13.67 10212.15 1016.79 10.04 2081.36 426.13 4.88
Growth rate (log-linear)% 0.74 0.574 0.166 0.595 0.449 0.146 0.48 0.386 0.095
Source: CSA, Agricultural Sample Survey, Various issues
As shown in Figure 3.2, yields have tended to stagnate over the years, despite the government’s effort
to expand the use of fertilizer and increase the coverage of extension (see section V). It should be
mentioned that the area expansion was achieved through cultivation of hillsides with high slopes,
reducing or eliminating fallow land, and converting pasture, woodland and forest areas into farmland,
with obvious negative implications for sustainable agriculture (Mulat, 1999)
25
Figure 3.2: Trends in yield per hectare for cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Yield levels of Cereals,Pulses and Oilseeds
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
1980
1982
19
84
1986
198
8
19
9
0
1992
19
94
1
996
1
99
8
2000
year
Yield (Qt/ha)
Cereal yield
pulse yield
oilseed yield
3.2.2. Livestock sub- sector
Ethiopia is said to possess the largest livestock population in Africa. Livestock is considered as a
security during crop failure, investment and additional income for farmers in Ethiopia. According to
the available documents, there are about 33 million cattle, 30 million sheep, 21 million goats, 1million
camels, 7 million equine, 52 million poultry and 10 million bee colonies (MEDaC, 1999). About 80%
of the cattle, 75% of sheep, and 27 % of goats are found in the highlands, while the rest (20% of the
cattle, 25% of sheep, 73% of the goats and 100% of camels) are located in the lowlands.
Livestock serve as source of traction for crop production, raw material input for industry (e.g. hides
and skins, wool, etc.) and manure for fertilization. Equines are the major source of transport services
in rural areas. The role of livestock as a source of food is critical for both highland and lowland
inhabitants. The main food contributions of livestock include, among other things, meat and meat
products, milk and milk products, eggs, and honey. In mixed farming systems of the highlands, 26% of
the livestock output is used as food, while in the pastoral areas, where livestock forms the main
sources of livelihood, this proportion increases to 61%.
Despite its potential, the livestock sub-sector has remained undeveloped in Ethiopia. On average it
contributes up to 30 percent of agricultural GDP. The main constraints include the following:
Diseases: Diseases have been identified one of the main factor for low productivity of the livestock
sub-sector. About 30-50% of the total value of livestock products is lost every year due to diseases
such as rinderpest, trypanosomiasis, foot and mouth disease, and liver fluke (FAO, 1993).
Feed shortage: under-nutrition and malnutrition are among the major constraints of livestock
production in Ethiopia. Nutritional stress has caused low growth rates, poor fertility and high
mortality. High population growth and increasing density have led to expansion of cultivated area at
26
the cost of grazing land on which smallholder livestock production depends. Permanent pastureland is
believed to have declined by close to 60% over the last three decades. It should be note that in areas
where there is intensive cultivation, crop residues have become the main source of animal feed. In the
lowlands, shortage of feed and water in drought years has resulted in loss of a large number of the
animal population (Befekadu and Berhanu, 1999/00).
Demand constraint: underdevelopment of roads and other infrastructure has hindered livestock take-
off. It has been indicated that as income declines for a variety of reasons, livestock products are the
first to be selected or removed from the menu by the majority of consumers. Also, during fasting
seasons (which are many) of Christians, livestock products are not part of the daily menu, i.e. they are
not entirely consumed which influences the demand for products negatively.
Institutional and policy constraints: there are also institutional and policy related problems such as
lack of institutional stability that could promote the sub-sector, lack of appropriate policies to promote
and increase production and productivity of the sub-sector. Inadequate capital and recurrent budget
allocations to the livestock sub-sector have also contributed to its low productivity.
3.2.3. Fishery sub-sector
Ethiopia has a large body of inland waters, comprising eight principal lakes, numerous rivers and
reservoirs. These water bodies host enormous wealth of fish resources. The fish production potential
of these water bodies is estimated at about 30,000 – 40,000 metric tons (MT) per year. . Despite its
high potential, the share of fishing in agricultural GDP is insignificant. Current annual fish production
in Ethiopia is estimated at about 4, 400 MT (Mulat et al, 2003), which accounts for less than 15
percent of the available water bodies fish potential. More than half of the fish catch comes from
principal lakes (lakes Abaya, Chamo and Ziway) that comprise only 20% of the total inland water
bodies. A large part of the country has no access to lakes or rivers with fishing potential. Fish
harvesting and processing technologies adopted by fishermen are traditional, leading to low quality
and quantity of fish catch. Poor transport facilities have restricted the scope of marketing to the nearest
local outlets where fish can be sold fresh immediately after catching. The fact that fish is not
recognized as a diet by most Ethiopians has also constrained the development of the fish sub-sector.
3.2.4. Forestry sub-sector
Forest resources are very important for economic development and for the maintenance of ecological
balance. Forests are also good for the control of run-offs (erosion), replenishment of ground waters,
and the maintenance of hydrological cycles that produce rainfall. The Ethiopian forests are being
depleted at an alarming rate. At the turn of the last century, around the year 1900, the forest cover in
Ethiopia was 40%, and recent estimates put it at only 3.6%. It is estimated that the current rates of
depletion of forest cover is about 100, 000 hectares per year. At this rate of depletion, it will only take
15 years from now to exhaust all the forest covers. The primary cause of deforestation is cutting trees
in order to open up new farmland to feed the ever-growing population. Widespread use of wood as
fuel has also contributed to the deforestation. Making and selling charcoal is a major non-farm
employment along the main roads of the country. Due to lack of adequate plan to conserve and use
forest resource, the contribution from the sub-sector to the national economy is minimal. The forestry
sub-sector contributes less than 6 % to the agricultural GDP and only 3% to the entire GDP of the
country.
27
3.3 Major Constraints to Food Security and Agricultural Development
Increasing agricultural productivity and expanding its productive capacity is the prerequisite for
sustained economic growth in the country. It is impossible to stabilize the macro-economy without
stabilizing the food economy. Unfortunately, agricultural development efforts of the last three decades
have failed to address the problem of food security in Ethiopia. A review of key constraints to food
security and agricultural development is essential to chart out an effective development path.
3.3.1 Erratic Weather Conditions
Much of Ethiopia is subject to a high degree of inter- and intra-seasonal climatic variability. Rains in
Ethiopia are highly erratic and uneven. Often it is not changes in rainfall totals (i.e., those associated
with climatological drought), but changes in the patterns of rainfall vis-à- vis moisture needs of key
crops and animals that is key in productivity. High coefficient of variation in monthly, seasonal, and
annual rainfall is particularly true in the semi-arid and arid districts where most of Ethiopia’s food
insecure people are found.
Since rain-fed agriculture dominates the national economy, the performance of the sector is closely
associated with availability of rainfall. Annual agricultural growth rates were fluctuating and show
negative signs in eight years over the period 1981 to 2001 (see Table 3.5). These fluctuations are
generally attributed to changes in rainfall and weather conditions. For instance, agricultural output
declined by 21% during the major drought year of 1984. Rainfall was only 90% of the average for
period 1980-2001 in 1984.
28
Table 3.5: Rainfall variability and trends of the agricultural growth rate
Year
Rainfall
Variability
(Rft/mean*100) Agricultural Output at CFC
In mill Birr Growth rate
1980 93.22 5384.8
1981 98.86 5189.7 -3.62
1982 98.65 5895.2 13.59
1983 99.7 5155.8 -12.54
1984 90.16 4078.9 -20.89
1985 94.66 4732.45 16.02
1986 105.63 5620.22 18.76
1987 106.46 5464.74 -2.77
1988 116.25 5521.05 1.03
1989 110.79 5814.24 5.31
1990 106.68 6114.88 5.17
1991 96.81 5947.56 -2.74
1992 103.7 6308.27 6.06
1993 109.15 6077.99 -3.65
1994 107.95 6284.01 3.39
1995 101.44 7206.2 14.68
1996 113.29 7453.9 3.44
1997 109.72 6620.6 -11.18
1998 112.66 6873.5 3.82
1999 110.16 7024.7 2.2
2000 105.23 7831.1 11.48
2001 89.51 7586 -3.13
3.3.2 Environmental degradation
It has been documented that the wealth of the country depends on its ability to conserve and mange its
land resources. Because of the aridity in a considerable part of Ethiopia, seasonally heavy rainfalls and
flooding in the highlands, loss of vegetation cover as a result of poor soil husbandry, much of the
country has for decades been subject to erosion, land degradation, enormous soil loss, and reduced
moisture availability. Some of the adverse consequences of land degradation include declining food
production, drought, ecological imbalance, and deterioration in the living standard of the population.
In the absence of adequate increase in yield to secure livelihoods, farmers reduce fallow periods and
expand into new areas, many of which are environmentally fragile and easily degraded (Getahun,
2003). It is argued that land degradation is partly due to the subsistence-oriented farmers’
unsustainable resource-use practices including clearing up of steep lands of vegetative cover in the
quest of fuel wood and cropland.
Significant land degradation has been observed in the highlands above 1500 masl and with long
history of settlement. It has also been documented that the highlands of Ethiopia are one of the most
29
severely degraded lands in Africa (El-Swaify and Hurni, 1996 cited in Bewket and Sterk, 2002). Soil
erosion by rain is the biggest problem in the country and average soil removal is about two billion tons
per year. If this trend continues, then per capita income of the highlands would be reduced by about
30% by the year 2010. Soil degradation is not limited to highland areas. Pastoralists and agro-
pastoralists of lowland areas are being affected by declining soil fertility, erosion and desertification.
3.3.3 Rapid population growth and declining farm size
A very high population growth rate is also a typical feature of rural Ethiopia. The total population
more than doubled during the past three decades, from 29.1million in 1972 to 67.2 million in 2002
(NOP, 2000).
13
The sharp increase in the annual growth rate of population from 0.2% at the beginning
of the century to 3% in the 1980s was mainly due to an increase in fertility rate and a decline in
mortality. The high fertility rate of rural people (~6.99 per woman in rural areas compared to ~3.3 in
urban areas) is the main reason for the rapidly increasing population. The main reasons for such high
fertility rate in rural areas include, among others, early marriage, lack of access to family planning,
economic value attached to children, etc.
Rapidly growing population with limited possibility of expanding the area under rain-fed agriculture
and lack of employment opportunities outside agriculture have led to a sharp decline in farm sizes.
About 39% of the farming households in the country cultivate less than 0.5 hectares and about 89%
cultivate less than 2 hectares. Only 0.75% of the farmers own more than 5 hectares of land (Table
3.6.). Small farm sizes under rain-fed conditions have reinforced subsistence production, in which
production activities are guided by home consumption requirements. Small-scale farmers produce
about 94% of food crops and 98% of coffee. State and private commercial farms account for the rest of
production.
Table 3.6: Number of Households by size of holding (1997/98)
Items < .10 .10-.50 .51-1.0 1.01-2.0 2.01-5.0 5.01-10.0 >10.01 Total
No. of household (000) 583.5
3,020.6
3
2,500.0
9
2,137.4 982.89 64.06 4.36
9,292.
9
% of households 6.28 38.78 65.69 88.7 99.26 99.95 100 100
No. of holders (000) 584.4
3,086.5
0 2,537.3 2,188.3 1,035.2 75.96 6.24
9,513.
9
% of holders 6.14 38.58 65.25 92.2 99.71 99.98 100 100
Total land use (000 ha) 31.39 896.57 1,842.4 3,015.1 2,777.8 407.9 89.53
9,060.
6
% of total land use 0.35 10.24 30.6 63.9 94.51 99.01 100 100
Average land holding/
household (ha)
0.05 0.3 0.74 1.41 2.83 6.37 20.53 0.98
Average land holding/
holder (ha) 0.05 0.29 0.73 1.38 2.68 5.37 14.35 0.95
Source: CSA, Land Utilization, Private peasant holdings, 1997/98 Addis Ababa, December 1998
3.3.4 Technological gaps
13
It should be noted that 67.2 million is the projected population size in the year 2002.
30
Utilization of modern inputs such as improved seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides or irrigation is
very low as shown in Table 3.7. Only 5.4% of the cereal area, for instance, was covered with improved
seeds and the corresponding proportion was 0.1% for pulses and 0% for oilseeds in 2000/01. Only
about 8% of the coffee area was planted with improved seedlings over the same period. In spite of the
recurrent drought, only 0.8% of the total cultivated area by the peasant sector was irrigated in 2000/01.
The use of organic and chemical fertilizer is limited to about 38% of the total area.
Table 3.7: Modern inputs in the peasant sector (2000/01)
Total crop Improved seed Irrigated Pesticide Fertilizer*
Area
(000ha)
% Area % Area % Area % Area %
Cereals 7636.62 73.18 415.27 5.438 45.77 0.599 986.27 12.92 3339.73 43.73
Teff 2182.53 20.91 14.52 0.665 5.65 0.259 443.65 20.33 1146.46 52.53
Barley 874 8.38 0.9 0.103 3.68 0.421 83.52 9.556 315.39 36.09
Wheat 1139.72 10.92 53.95 4.734 1.33 0.117 395.97 34.74 746.76 65.52
Maize 1719.73 16.48 344.57 20.04 18.96 1.102 25.3 1.471 843.64 49.06
Sorghum 1332.86 12.77 1.33 0.1 15.91 1.194 25.17 1.888 131.94 9.899
Millet 346.78 3.32 0 0 9.5 2.739 143.04 41.25
Oats 40.98 0.39 0 0 3.17 7.735 12.51 30.53
Pulses@ 1233.93 11.82 1.71 0.139 3.88 0.314 7.56 0.613 172.58 13.99
Oilseeds@@ 561.41 5.38 0 0.29 0.052 4.12 0.734 37.42 6.665
Others@@@ 306.22 2.93 1.51 0.493 9.24 3.017 5.9 1.927 129.61 42.33
All temporary** 9738.17 93.32 418.76 4.3 59.19 0.608
1003.8
5 10.31 3679.35 37.78
Permanent 697.19 6.68 21.51 3.085 22.5 3.227 3.64 0.522 270.22 38.76
Chat 99.02 0.95 0 6.98 7.049 2.67 2.696 35.3 35.65
Coffee 274.43 2.63 21.46 7.82 7.24 2.638 0.6 0.219 46.1 16.8
Enset 263.89 2.53 0 1.39 0.527 0 175.38 66.46
Cotton 11.23 0.11 0 0 0 1.62 14.43
Tobacco 3.99 0.04 0 0 0 1.25 31.33
Fruits 20.6 0.2 0.03 0.146 2.68 13.01 0 3.48 16.89
Other
permane
nt
24.03 0.23 0 3.93 16.35 0 7.08 29.46
All crops 10435.4 100 440.27 4.219 81.69 0.783 1007.5 9.655 3949.56 37.85
* Fertilizer includes both chemical and natural fertilizers
** Natural fertilizer accounts for 17.5% of the total fertilizers
applied
*** Natural fertilizer accounts for 88.0% of the total fertilizers
applied
@ Include horse beans, field peas, haricot beans, chick peas, lentils and
vetch
@@ include neug, linseed, rape seed, groundnuts, sunflower, sesame and castor bean
@@@ include fenugreek, spices, potatoes and other vegetables
Source: CSA
Subsistence farmers heavily rely on traditional tools and implements and local seeds with low genetic
potential, which have resulted in low yield. The traditional tillage tool is inefficient in terms of depth,
width of operation as well as pulverization of the soil. The traditional plough remained unchanged and
31
requires several passes to prepare land for planting (Mulat, 1999). Apart from its labour-intensive
nature and requiring many draught animals, the present technology of land preparation is of little use
for turning the subtle and weeds into the soil. It has been repeatedly argued that the food crisis in the
country necessitates the importance of promoting technological innovations for increasing food
production and minimising post-harvest losses. The apparent lack of problem solving technical
innovations in the agriculture has led to yield stagnation (Getahun, 2003).
3.3.5 Infrastructural, institutional and other constraints
The importance of infrastructure such as roads cannot be overemphasized in boosting agricultural
production and productivity. The transport and communication systems are virtually underdeveloped
and the country’s road network is one of the least even by African standards with a density of 17.3km
per 1000 sq. km in the 1990s, indicating that a large part of the country’s potentially productive areas
are inaccessible. Studies indicate that about three-fourth of Ethiopian farmers live more than half-a-
day walk from all-weather roads. Geographical barriers to inter-regional trade are accentuated by the
fact that all major roads converge on Addis Ababa, and agricultural distribution and marketing are
predominantly focused on the city. Inadequate road networks increase transport costs and constrain
the viability of grain trade that would otherwise moderate price fluctuations. Transaction costs such as
handling and transport costs are high due to small quantities that farmers bring to market places via
small bags carried on head or on the back of pack animals (Mulat, 1999). An estimate of 30% of the
total grain output has been lost due to inadequate storage and poor transport facilities (Getahun, 2003).
It has been argued that a more efficient marketing system calls for a more timely and widely
dissemination of market information.
Input markets are extremely inefficient in Ethiopia. For instance, fertilizer market is dominated by a
parastatal and a few companies with connections to the local governments. Improved seeds are not
available in the open market and the government, through its different agencies like the Ethiopian
Seed Enterprises, is in charge of distributing improved seeds to farmers. Delays in input delivery
14
and
lack of coordination of seed supply, fertilizer distribution, credit and output marketing are the major
limiting factor for technological adoption and retards agricultural production in the peasant sector. The
land market is underdeveloped in Ethiopia mainly due to the land policy that restricted ownership of
land to the state and gave only usufruct right to farmers. It is widely believed that the existing land
policy has contributed to fragmentation and underutilization of the country’s land resources.
Consolidation of holdings into larger and more efficient farm size cannot be undertaken by efficient
farmers since transfer of land by way of lease or sale has always been severely curtailed.
With regard to social development such as education and health indicators, Ethiopia has one of the
highest adult and youth illiteracy rates in the world as well as in sub-Sahara African countries. The
adult illiteracy rates for males and females were 57 and 68 in 1999/2000, respectively, (MOFED,
2002). The youth illiteracy rates for males and females were 46 and 48, respectively. Emerging
evidences show that a quarter of the Ethiopian population live some 6 kms or more and 19.3 kms away
14
Recent evidences indicate that 31% of farmers who bought DAP complain about late delivery of chemical fertilizers. In
terms of regional disagreggation, the highest complain was observed in SNNPR (49%) and Oromiya (41%) than in Tigray
(3%) and Amhara (18%). These delays can largely be attributed to the long process of organizing and processing bid
procurement. Late arrival is believed to have contributed to lower yields, hence lower profitability of fertilizer (DSA, 2001;
Mulat, 2003).
32
from primary secondary schools respectively (MOFED, 2002). The rural-urban divide is enormous in
terms of accessibility of educational infrastructure, where the situation is even worse in rural areas.
The majority of the Ethiopian population do not have access to adequate health facilities. The average
distance from the residence of a household to the nearest health centre was 7 kms in Ethiopia (See
Table 4.4). About 50% of the population in the country reside over 6 kms away from health centres.
More importantly, the rate of HIV/AIDS infection is rising and some 7.3 to 10% of the adult
population is reportedly HIV positive. The country is losing its prime labor force with serious social
and economic implications.
3.4 Agricultural Strategies and Policies
The effort to develop the rural and agricultural sectors began in the 1960s with the launching of the
comprehensive and minimum package agricultural projects in high potential areas using the free
market policy framework. A new approach designed to transform the rural areas along the socialist
mode of production was introduced in the mid 1970s. The communist experiment ended in 1991
when a new development strategy called Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) was
introduced and the policy of market liberalization was announced. This section examines past
strategies and polices with the aim of establishing the implications for the poor performance of the
sector.
3.4.1 Pre-1991
The Imperial regime
Until the late 1960s, peasant agriculture was not given due emphasis by policy makers and planners.
Bimodal strategy for agricultural development was adopted in the late 1960s, namely large-scale
mechanized commercial farms and the establishment and development of package projects. Large-
scale mechanized commercial farms require extensive area of land under cultivation with the use of
modern agricultural inputs such as modern technology, machinery, equipment (tractors and
combiners), spray airplanes for pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and hired labor contrary to the family
labor used in the small scale farming systems. These farms were producing mainly food and fibber that
were used as inputs for the industrial establishments.
The government took some kind of fiscal measures to encourage the expansion of these farms in the
country. Among the policy measures adopted by the government were tax concession- low tax land
use and tax-free import of heavy machinery and equipment. Despite all the encouragements made by
the government, the achievement of these farms was less than satisfactory. The commercial farming
accounted for 5% of the total agricultural output and 3% of the total area cultivated. Investment in the
commercial farming accounted for about 13.7% and 21.3% of the total investment in the agriculture
sector during its First-Five-Year (1957-1961) and Second-Five-Year (1963-1967) development plans,
respectively, (Belay, 2003). Although this investment is relatively meager, but has lead to some
expansion of commercial farms engaged in the production of cash crops for exports and raw materials
for domestic industries.
Because of dissatisfaction with the poor performance and continued stagnation of commercial farms
and pressure from international donor agencies, the government started acknowledging the impotence
of small farm households and made attempts to modernize it. As a result, the first integrated rural
development project, the Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit (CADU), was introduced in one of
33
the high potential area of the country, Arsi, South of Addis Ababa, in 1967. The project, CADU,
aimed at a general socio-economic development including agronomic research, diffusion of research
results, provision of modern farm inputs, marketing and credit facilities, promotion of cooperative
societies, price stabilization, and training of local project employees. Based on the experience of
CADU
15
, two other comprehensive package projects with similar objectives were initiated: the
Wolamo Agricultural Development Unit (WADU) in Wolaita in 1970 and the Ada District
Development Project (ADDP) in Debre Zeit, in 1972.
However, it appeared that the comprehensive package project was found to be too costly in financial
terms and in terms of availability of skilled manpower to replicate in other regions of the country.
Thus, the then government adopted another package which thought to be compatible with the available
resources and less expensive to replicate in different areas of the country such as the Minimum
Package Project (MPP) in 1971. Like the comprehensive package project, the impact of MPP on
peasant agriculture was below expectation mainly due to lack of appropriate agricultural technologies
adaptable to the different agro-ecological zones of the country.
Interventions under the Imperial regime focussed on introduction of new technologies and promotion
of commercial agriculture in high potential areas. It was generally felt that the major beneficiaries
were members of the ruling class and a few elites that owned land and had access to government
finance and incentives. A growing gap between the rich and the poor and dictatorial rule by the
emperor triggered protests and opposition against the Government. There was very little attempt to
arrest environmental degradation and moisture stress in marginal areas. The only option for farmers in
the degraded and drought-prone areas of the north was to settle in the southern, western and the Rift
Valley areas through spontaneous and planned settlement schemes. A relatively small number of
peasants are believed to have relocated their residence in more fertile areas. Traditional agriculture in
the north increasingly failed to sustain life for the increasing population, culminating in the Wollo
famine of 1972-74 that led to the overthrow of the 2,000 year old feudal system of rule in 1974.
3.4.2 The Socialist/ Military Regime
The uprising in 1974 that led to the overthrow of the Emperor was accompanied by changes in the
ideological thinking in favor of socialist principles. It was followed by an overall shift in the economic
policies of the country in which state control of the economy was over-extended. The official policy in
agriculture became expansion of state and collective farms and all rural lands became public property
and private ownership of land was banned following the 1975 land reform. It was declared that land
would be distributed to tillers without compensation to former owners (landlords). There were no
circumstances which had been encouraging private sector participation in economic activity. The new
policy paradigm was also manifesting itself in the different sectors of the economy. The proclamation
limited the size of land to a maximum of 10 hectares and transfer of land by any means such sale,
exchange, lease, etc was strictly prohibited. The reform was also made provisions for the formation of
peasant associations (Pas), the main instrument for implementing the land reform program. The
15
CADU managed to increase wheat yield from 13 quintal per hectare in 1967 to 20 quintals per hectare in 1974. It also
helped farmers to increase milk yield from 300 liters per lactation period per cow in 1967 to 1000 liters per lactation period
per cow in 1974. As a result, the per capita income of Arssi doubled the national average in rural areas that was Birr 450 per
year in 1967 to Birr 939 per year in 1974. On top of these, marketing facilities had been made easy through the construction
of feeder roads (MOE, 2002).
34
formation of Service and Producers’ Cooperatives was highly encouraged. A villagization program,
designed to bring distant households into small village clusters, was also initiated in the mid 1980s to
expedite the process of collectivization.
The MPP launched during the Imperial regime continued in the Derg regime. The government,
however, favoured state-owned large-scale farms and Producer Cooperatives in the form of offering
low cost fertilizer, interest free loans, and relatively fertile farmlands. The impact of these measures
on the performance of the agricultural sector was disastrous: low production of food grains and high
grain prices in urban areas. This forced the government to establish a parastatal marketing agency
known as the Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC) with the aim of stabilizing grain prices in
the urban areas at the expense of farmers. AMC purchased grain from farmers at artificially low price
and sold to urban dwellers at a reduced price. The whole operation was assisted by compulsory grain
delivery imposed on farmers. Restrictions on inter-regional grain movement by private traders and
quota system discouraged farmers from producing more and investing in agriculture.
Because of the poor performance of the agriculture and their dissatisfaction with the government
policies and strategies of the government, donors withdrew their support to the MPP. Hence, the
minimum package project was phased out in the mid 1985 and replaced by the Peasant Agricultural
Development Extension Program (PADEP) with the objective of increasing food production,
promoting rural employment opportunities, developing the production of cash crops for exports and
raw materials for domestic industries. Due to disagreement between the government and donors, the
implementation of PADEP was terminated. Despite emphasis of the government on state and
collective farms in terms of providing credit and investment, their performance was less than
satisfactory.
The socialist regime failed to tackle the root causes of food insecurity in low potential areas. Top-
down approach in policy formulation and implementation excluded farmers from participation in the
development process. Farmer organizations were brought under the direct complete control of the
Government and the ruling party, Workers Party of Ethiopia. Independent initiative was stifled.
Investment in irrigation was very limited and the entire focus of the Government was rather on
collective and state farms in high potential areas and early warning system and coordination of relief
activities in low potential areas. The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) was given the
responsibility of gathering information to identify areas which may suffer widespread food shortages
in following years. At the end of each harvest season, a food supply prospect report was produced
along with an assistance requirement report for the donor community. RRC also produced a quarterly
pastoral area assessment report covering the vulnerability and food needs of the pastoral areas
(Caldwell, 1992). Attempts to build the productive capacity of the farmers and thereby break the cycle
of dependence on food aid were non-existent. On the contrary, public ownership of land made it very
difficult for farmers to invest on land. Farmers were also observed to reduce their livestock size in
order to meet the selection criteria and make themselves eligible for relief distribution (Debebe, 2001).
Resettlement of farmers from drought-prone areas became a major undertaking in the 1980s especially
after the 1984 disastrous famine. The scheme was meant to relieve the population pressure of the
vulnerable areas, promote food security and to bring about the environmental rehabilitation of these
areas. In the period 1984-86, the Military Government resettled some 600,000 people mostly in the
lowlands of western Ethiopia. It is estimated that 33,000 settlers lost their lives due to disease, hunger,
and exhaustion, and thousands of families were broken up. Apart from the huge loss of life and
35
financial cost, losses due to environmental damage, livestock death and loss of property are reported to
be significant (Dessalign, 2004).
3.4.3 Post-1991
Protracted civil war and the consequent deepening crisis in the political and economic situation of the
country led to the change in government and the establishment of the Transitional Government of
Ethiopia (TGE) in July 1991. The then TGE, backed by World Bank and IMF, adopted the
Transitional Economic Policy, which continued to be the official economic document of the country,
and further strengthened and deepened by initiating a series of reform measures with the objective of
revitalizing and reversing the centralized economic system into a more market-based economy. The
adoption of the new economic policy laid a corner-stone for a conducive policy environment that
dissolved producer cooperatives, encouraged small holder and private commercial farms, reduced
public investment in state farms, removal of input subsidy, devaluation (and subsequent depreciation
of the real exchange rate), market (both input and output) liberalization, and abolition of inter-regional
trade movements. As part of the economic reform program, the government has also embarked upon
an extensive privatization program with a view to curtail the role of the government in the production
and distribution of goods and services.
A development strategy popularly known as agricultural development-led-industrialization (ADLI)
which emphasizes on the development of peasant agriculture and on making the agricultural sector the
driving force of the national economy was adopted. At the heart of this strategy lies, the attainment of
food self-sufficiency, increase and diversify production of raw materials and thereby promote the
linkage of the agricultural sector with the industrial sector. The main premises of the strategy are that
agriculture acts as the springboard of the overall development process on account of its superior
growth linkages; and it has also been widely recognized and accepted that Ethiopia cannot progress
without strengthening of agricultural production and productivity. This strategy aims at improving the
production and productivity of smallholder agriculture through generation, adoption and diffusion of
new farm technologies in the form of improved inputs and farming methods. In order to mobilize
small farmers and dissemination of better farming practices, the development strategy has been
operationalized via Participatory Demonstration and Extension Training System (PADETS). The main
features of PADETS, among others, include sizeable demonstration plots in the field of the farmer
himself/ herself, provision of input credit, and market led inputs and output markets.
Since the operationalization of PADETS in the country in the mid 1990s, fertilizer and selected seeds
have witnessed widespread and increased rates of adoption in different regions. The quantity of
commercial fertilizer used by the peasant sector increased from 107,457 tons in 1993 to 297,907 in
2000, although declining to 230,000 in 2002. Moreover, the number of participating farmers has
shown an increasing trend, covering about 40 percent of the farming population. (The number of
extension participant farmers rapidly expanded from 32,047 in 1995 to over 4 million in 2001).
Recognizing the complexity and intractable nature of poverty, the Government has prepared
Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (SDPRP). SDPRP calls for
empowering local community and demand-driven approach to technology generation and
dissemination. The Government has also committed itself to the devolution of power to woredas
(districts) and kebeles (villages) facilitating the direct participation of the people in growth and
36
poverty reduction endeavors. Lack of independent grassroots organizations (e.g. association of
producers (dairy, wheat, maize, etc.), farmers union, etc.) is perhaps the biggest challenge to the
realization of the decentralization objective.
In order to address the food insecurity challenges of Ethiopia, a consultative process has been
undertaken to establish a partnership between the Government and its development partners. A high
level workshop was organized by the Government on 11-12 June 2003 to search for a lasting solution
to the issue of chronic food insecurity. The workshop gave rise to the formation of the New Coalition
for Food Security. The Coalition established a Technical Group comprising of specialists representing
both Government and development partners who were given the mandate to draft a plan and an action
plan to drastically reduce food insecurity. The five-year goal is to attain food security for five million
chronically food insecure people, while, at the same time, improving and sustaining the overall food
security of an additional ten million people.
Although the Collation signals a major departure from traditions and practices in the past, it is still the
same top-down intervention with no or little participation of the actual stakeholders, the farming
community. The Federal Food Security Steering Committee (FSSC) is chaired by the Deputy Prime
Minister, it is composed of four Government representatives and four elected donor representatives. It
will provide policy and strategic advice to the government. The Regional Food Security Coordination
Offices will continue to be the focal point for the overall coordination and secretary of the Regional
Food Security Steering Committee. All food security activities at the woreda level are discussed in
most localities by the Woreda Development Committee. A Woreda Food Security Desk oversees the
practical implications of the various elements of the program, provides guidance to each sector and
stakeholders involved in the woreda, coordinates priorities and capacity building efforts, in close
liaison with regional level. This is hardly a reflection of inclusive institutions. A wider ownership of
the program by stakeholders does not exist.
Both the SDPRP and the New Coalition for Food Security attach significance to the role of
resettlement in reducing the pressure exerted on land in drought-prone areas. Intra-regional voluntary
settlement schemes in sparsely populated and under-utilized areas is considered as one of the key
instruments to attain food security. The scheme is expected to involve 440,000 heads of households
(totaling 2.2 million people including their families) in four regions (Amhara, Oromiya, Southern
Nations, Nationalities and Peopels (SNNP) and Tigray). Preliminary study puts serious doubt about
the Government claim on the presence of abundant unoccupied land suitable for cultivation even in
regions with more favorable weather and fertile land such as Oromiya and SNNP (Alemneh, 2003). It
should be noted that governments in Ethiopia resort to resettlement following their failure to develop
the non-agricultural sector (to absorb the surplus rural labor) and promote intensification on the farm
(to increase the absorptive capacity of the land).
The Federal Government has chosen to uphold the land policy of the former socialist government on
the ground that private freehold system would lead to sales of land at times of drought or shocks, with
subsequent massive migration to urban centers. According to the December 1994 Constitution, ‘…
the right to ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources is exclusively vested
in the state and the peoples of Ethiopia. Land is common property of the nations, nationalities and
Peoples of Ethiopia and shall not be subject to sale or to other means of transfer’. Some regions (eg.
Tigray) have recently introduced land titles to proved more security and encourage investment.
However, a study in Tigray reported that land certification, although a positive initiative, it cannot
37
address issues of insecurity, ownership and transfer of land (Atakilte, 2003). The efficiency cost of
tenure insecurity appears to be very high.
38
3.5 Role of Civil Societies in Policy Formulation and Implementation
Community organizations and institutions are vital in promoting people’s participation for
provision of services and resources for human development, improving resource allocation and for
ensuring effective public service delivery. Grassroots institutions have proved to be the most
effective partners in the fight against poverty.
Farmers, women and youth in rural areas have never been able to organize their own independent
association to protect their rights and interests. Trade, teachers and student unions as well as
business associations in urban came into being and operated under a generally unfavorable
political environment where independent associations and organizations outside the tutelage and
control of the state were viewed with suspicion. The Military government violently smashed any
attempt of the unions to maintain independence. It purged their leaders in the late 1970s and
replaced them with those that were zealous supporters of the government and its ideology.
16
It also
created national associations such as the Revolutionary Ethiopia Farmers Association (REFA),
Revolutionary Ethiopia Youth Association (REYA), and Revolutionary Ethiopia Women’s
Association (REWA) to serve as an instrument for its policy of control and suppression.
The present government came to power in 1991 with a promise of democratic freedom and multi-
party politics. Nonetheless, it has been equally unwilling to tolerate independent unions or
associations. According to Dessalegn
17
, ‘its favored tactic since the early 1990s has been to force
a split in trade unions considered hostile to its policies and then give its support in favor of leaders
friendly to it. On occasion, independent minded leaders have been harassed, thrown in jail on
trumped up charges, or forced to flee the country’.
One of the major reasons for lack of sustained development in Ethiopia is lack of adequate
mechanism to articulate the interest of peasants and ensure their active participation in planning
and execution of development projects. Independent farmers’ unions, interest groups, union of
wageworkers and associations/network of craft workers have never been part of the rural life. In
the absence of civic organisations to protect their interest, interactions with public officials have
placed a large burden on poor people. They are unable to take advantage of new economic
opportunities or engage in activities outside their immediate zone of security, i.e. subsistence
farming
18
.
3.6 Pattern of Support and Terms of Trade
3.6.1 Budgetary Allocation
Public expenditure in agriculture is one of the indicators of government’s commitment to the
sector. Despite the dominance and significance of agriculture in the overall economy, the level of
government resources invested has been very much limited particularly in the 1980s. Government
expenditure in agriculture was, on average, 1.6% of GDP during the period spanning 1980-2001
and the trend increased only marginally from 1.3% in 1992 to 1.5% in 2001 (Figure 3.3).
16
See for instance, Taketel Abebe. 2000. ‘Civil Society: Some Theoretical and Conceptual Issues’ in Alemu
Mekonnen and Dejene Aredo (eds), op cit.; Dessalegn Rahmato. 2002. ‘Civil Society Organizations in
Ethiopia’ in Bahru Zewde and S. Pausewang (eds), op cit.
17
Dessalegn Rahmato. 2002. ‘Civil Society Organizations in Ethiopia’ in Bahru Zewde and S. Pausewang
(eds), op cit.
18
Mulat Demeke. 2001. Off-farm income generation opportunities in Ethiopia: with particular reference to
food-insecure woredas, Department of Economics, Addis Ababa University, unpublished report.
39
The share of agricultural expenditure in the total government expenditure was also very low and
depicted a fluctuating trend between 2% (the trough) 13% (the peak) for the period 1980/81-
2001/02. The share of agriculture averaged 5% and the figure was only 4% in the 1990s compared
to 7% in the 1980s. The level of government expenditure in agriculture has not been
commensurate with the sector’s contribution to the economy and its development requirements.
Since the vast majority of the country’s poor people depend on agriculture, the government needs
to invest more to alleviate poverty.
Figure 3.3: Government expenditure in agriculture
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
1980/
81
198
2/83
1984/85
198
6/87
1988/89
199
0/91
1
99
2/93
199
4/95
199
6/97
199
8/99
200
0/01
Agricultural expenditure as % of GDP
Agricultural expenditure as % of total expenditure
Figure 3.4 shows the proportion of recurrent expenditure allocated to agriculture, education, health
and defense. With the exception of the brief period between 1991/92 and 1996/97, defense
absorbed that largest proportion, often exceeding 30% of the recurrent budget. On average, 40% of
the total recurrent expenditure (including grants) was spent on defense between 1980/81 and
1990/91 to fight rebel movements in different parts of the country. Because of the Ethio-Eritrea
conflict, military expenditure accounted for about 37% of the total recurrent expenditure during the
period 1997/98 – 2000/01. Recurrent expenditure on education and training averaged 12.0%
during the period 1980/81-1990/91, compared to 14.8% in the years 1991/92 to 2000/01. The share
of agriculture remained low but increased from an average share of 2.5% in 1980/81-1990/91 to
5.5% during post reform period (1991/92- 2000/01). Expenditure on health accounted for 3.6% of
the total recurrent expenditure in 1980/81–1990/91, compared to 5.0% during the period 1991/92-
2000/01. The high cost of the civil war and the military conflict in Ethiopia has made it
impossible to increase expenditure on pro-poor sectors such as agriculture, education and health.
40