8.6 Ethiopian food security strategy
Ethiopia’s food security strategy highlights the government’s plans to address the causes and effects of food insecurity in Ethiopia. The food security strategy has two major approaches towards achieving food security in Ethiopia:
- Enhancing agricultural productivity
- Asset building/productive safety net programmes (PSNP).
PSNP aim to build the assets of the poorest of the poor to enable them to develop means of living (livelihood).
Therefore, the food security strategy places a significant focus on the following issues:
- Environmental rehabilitation: Measures to reverse the level of land degradation and create a source of income generation for food-insecure households through a focus on biological measures, such as re-forestation and land preservation.
- Water projects: Water harvesting and the introduction of high-value crops, livestock and agro-forestry development.
- Enhancing agricultural productivity: Agriculture is considered to be the starting point for initiating the structural transformation of the economy. Because of this, agricultural development-led industrialisation (ADLI) has been pursued as a major policy framework since 1991. ADLI assists the development of agriculture and helps expand markets for domestic production leading to increased incomes for small holders.
- Controlling population growth: High population growth rates continue to undermine Ethiopia’s ability to be food secure and provide effective education, health and other essential social and economic services. The central elements of the policy focus on a multi-sector approach, improving family planning services and expanding education.
- Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS is a formidable challenge to the pursuit of food security in Ethiopia as it reduces and debilitates the productive population and society as a whole. The government has put in place a national policy and countrywide programme for the whole population to control and reduce the spread of the disease.
- Gender: Women have a substantive productive role in the rural sector, including participation in livestock maintenance and management, crop production, and the marketing of rural produce. Integration of gender perspectives in the design and implementation of economic and social policies, programmes and projects is considered central to the national food security strategy.
- Environmental sustainability: This is critical to the pursuit of food security and economic development generally. Development depends on the appropriate and sustainable use of the environment and the management of natural resources. Given the high environmental degradation in drought-prone and pastoral areas, environmental rehabilitation (soil and water conservation) is an essential element.
What are the approaches of the National Food Security Strategy and why are they important?
The two major approaches for achieving food security in Ethiopia are: enhancing agricultural productivity and asset building/PSNP. They are important approaches which aim to tackle the causes of food insecurity and the serious problems created by these for social wellbeing and economic growth in Ethiopia.