Feed The Future in Ethiopia

USAID began assisting Ethiopia with improvements to food security and nutrition after the country was devasted by a famine-causing drought in the 1970s. Under the Feed the Future program — designed by the Obama Administration — further initiatives have been implemented to ameliorate hunger and improve the economy. Here are five facts about Feed the Future in Ethiopia.

5 Facts About Feed The Future in Ethiopia

  1. Feed the Future symbolizes a commitment to help Ethiopia become a self-sustaining nation. The organization is committed to a detailed short-term plan that is expected to minimize extreme poverty, malnutrition and hunger in the long-run. The plan will assist Ethiopia in its endeavors to become a lower-middle-class country within the next six years.
  2. The plan focuses on agricultural development in Ethiopia. Feed the Future provides farmers with updated “technology and practices,” which encourages productive and sustainable farming in the agriculture-based country. This includes the implementation of a Farm Service Center Project from 2015-2017 to aid in credit access, food security and gender equality. Thanks to the program, 100,000 farmers are able to deploy new, innovative technologies from 20 new private retail farm service centers.
  3. Coffee is a key crop. From January 2018 to April 2019, the organization helped Ethiopia send 6,000 kilograms of dried coffee to Germany and Japan. Feed the Future is focusing on increasing coffee seedling profitability by investing in “wet mills and sun-drying facilities” among smallholder farms. These investments can improve the quality of the seedlings in coffee-producing regions like Amhara and Oromia.
  4. Government cooperation is critical to success. The organization’s improvements to Ethiopia’s agricultural sector complements Addis Ababa’s new Growth and Transformation Plan to improve agriculture and industrialization. Addis Ababa is also partnered with other organizations like the Gates Foundation to further agricultural development.
  5. The organization is helping to reduce poverty. Feed the Future reports a 12 percent decrease in poverty in the areas where the organization has been active over a two year period (2015-2017). Feed the Future programs target efforts in regions where the poverty rate is 35 percent, on average.

Feed the Future is an American investment. Helping another country boost its economy can result in gains for the United States. Today, 11 of the United States’ top trading partners are previous recipients of USAID and hopefully owing to the efforts of Feed the Future and other organizations, one day, Ethiopia can also join these ranks.

– Rebekah Askew
Photo: Flickr

food insecurity in ethiopia
Despite the fact that Ethiopia has a stronger economy than many other countries in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, it still remains one of the world’s least developed countries. In 2017, Ethiopia ranked 173 out of 189 countries and territories in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI). Food insecurity contributes to a lack of development in Ethiopia.

Drought, Conflict, and IDPs

Drought is one of the principal sources of food insecurity in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is currently suffering from the lingering effects of past droughts. There have been two devastating droughts in Ethiopia since 2015, which has forced many out of their homes in search of food and basic services. Droughts are a primary factor in the creation of internal refugees, or internally displaced person (IDPs) in Ethiopia.

Currently, nearly three million Ethiopians are categorized as IDPs. In addition to drought, the number of IDPs has increased due to a surge in ethnic violence, particularly along the Oromiya-Somali regional border. Nearly 600,000 individuals from the Oromiya and Somali regions have become IDPs.

The combination of drought, displacement, violence and underdevelopment has resulted in widespread food insecurity in Ethiopia. Due to this, roughly 7% of the population relies on food aid. The U.S. Government has been heavily involved in battling food insecurity in Ethiopia. Currently, food insecurity and under-nutrition are two of the greatest economic hindrances in Ethiopia.

Here are five things you need to know about the United States’ involvement in addressing food insecurity in Ethiopia.

5 Ways the U.S. Helps Food Insecurity in Ethiopia

  1. “Feed the Future,” an initiative launched by the Obama Administration in 2010, has been one of the more successful programs in promoting food security in Ethiopia: Feed the Future worked in different areas in Ethiopia from 2013 to 2015 and reduced the prevalence of poverty in those areas by 12 percent. Additionally, in 2017, those who were reached by Feed the Future generated $40 million in agricultural sales and received $5.7 million in new private investment. The economy and food security in Ethiopia are closely intertwined because the nation’s economy is dependent on agriculture. Agriculture-led economic growth, therefore, has been one the primary missions of Feed the Future within Ethiopia.
  2. The US has focused on restoring Ethiopia’s potato and sweet potato supply due to its high source of Vitamin A as a means of reducing food insecurity in Ethiopia: In June 2016, The USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) supported the International Potato Center (CIP) to assist drought-affected farmers in planting potatoes and sweet potatoes. Due to this support, the CIP was able to provide sweet potato seeds to nearly 10,000 farmers and trained more than 11,300 men and women on various ways to incorporate this vitamin-rich vegetable into more of their meals. The USAID/OFDA continues to support programs that promote the development of critical agriculture, such as sweet potatoes, in Ethiopia.
  3. Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs) are working in Ethiopia to help manage issues of malnutrition: The USAID’s OFDA and UNICEF have partnered together to deploy MHNTs in order to provide malnutrition screenings, basic health care services, immunizations and health education. The team also offered patient referrals when necessary. In 2017, 50 MHNTs provided 483,700 individuals in the Afar and Somali regions of Ethiopia with life-saving health and nutritional services.
  4. Humanitarian assistance has been essential in reducing severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children: Although USAID provides resources to help treat SAM, 38 percent of children under five still have stunted growth due to malnutrition. As of March 2018, 31,066 children were admitted and treated for SAM. Approximately 30 percent of these cases were in the Somali region due to the region’s issue with ethnic violence and drought. Significantly more assistance is needed in the Somali region in order to sufficiently manage malnutrition.
  5. Humanitarian assistance has been one of the primary reasons Ethiopia has not entered into a state of emergency for food insecurity: Although increased rainfall and a reduction in disease outbreak have helped minimize food insecurity in Ethiopia, the country would be much worse off without the help of humanitarian aid. Currently, Ethiopia is in crisis, which is phase three of five on the food insecurity scale. The phases include minimal, stressed, crisis, emergency and famine. Experts from the Famine Early Warning Systems Networks report that “Ethiopia would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance.”

Looking Forward

The need for humanitarian aid will increase as Ethiopia’s population rapidly grows. Currently, Ethiopia ranks second in Africa for the number of refugees the country hosts. Nearly 100 percent of these refugees originate from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. Ethiopia currently hosts over 920,262 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of May 31, 2018.

The number of asylum seekers in Ethiopia will continue to grow because Ethiopia has an open-door asylum policy. As Ethiopia’s population continues to grow due to this policy, food sources will become increasingly strained. The need for humanitarian assistance to promote sustainable agriculture and farming practices, therefore, has become essential for reducing food insecurity in Ethiopia.

Ariana Howard
Photo: Flickr

infrastructure in EthiopiaEthiopia is home to Africa’s second largest population and is the oldest independent country on the continent. The surface and transport infrastructure in Ethiopia are particularly poor and underdeveloped, demonstrated by the fact that the country has the lowest road density in the world and only 13.3 percent of all roads have been paved.

Road infrastructure in Ethiopia is of particular importance, as the country is five times as large as the United Kingdom. There has been a massive increase in the allocation of funds for road construction, with the state spending on roads accounting for a quarter of each year’s infrastructure budget.

Unlike their surface infrastructure, Ethiopia features new and upgraded airports which facilitate the transport of goods and encourage greater investment. There are two international airports, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, both of which have seen an increase in passenger and freight transport over the last several years. To encourage tourism, five major airports were selected to be upgraded, with the opening of the Arba Minch airport leading to a wide range of economic opportunities for the south of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has continued to focus its economic policies on the development of new and improved infrastructure by planning to allocate $89 million on infrastructure spending. This has continued the trend of upgrading the national road network, following previous commitments to improve road connections to Kenya and South Sudan.

Improving the road network in Ethiopia is essential, as it will make it easier for farmers to transport their produce to bigger markets, and it supports the growth of the sugar industry in south Ethiopia. The government has hopes that with improvement to the road network, Ethiopia will be able to develop coal mines in the region, allowing the nation to supply cement producers and bolstering the economy.

-Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Women's Empowerment in EthiopiaEthiopia is an African country located on the east side of the continent. The country’s main persistent problem throughout the years has been poverty – it affects all citizens, but specifically affects the ones living in rural areas.

One reason for the prevalence of poverty is because Ethiopia’s economy is mostly based around agriculture and farming. Thus, whenever there is an occurrence of droughts, the population has to face hunger and a lack of basic resources to survive. Droughts have been very recurrent during the past few years in the country of Ethiopia.

Another increasingly severe problem in Ethiopia is the international trafficking of women and children. Along with it, domestic violence has been a recurrent problem that does not seem to be reducing with time.

Ethiopia’s constitution mentions how it provides equality for women, but the reality is that the application of this statement is sorely lacking. Most victims of abuse, rape, sexual assault or other criminal activities do not understand the legal procedures and rights that they have when going through the legal process. Thus, the victim’s ignorance along with the common belief in Ethiopia that husbands have the right to beat their wife creates an unsafe environment. Victims consider such acts as normal or understandable. Women’s empowerment in Ethiopia seems to be a concept that not even women in this African country are aware of.

The issue is that women’s inequality is an ancient problem that has not been resolved over time, as it has happened in other countries around the world. Thus, situations such as forced marriages and female genital mutilation are still taking place to this day.

Changing Ethiopian society’s view regarding women and children has – understandably – not proven to be an overnight process. The concept as a whole has been tackled by different organizations, including USAID, which has been a major advocate for womens’ empowerment in Ethiopia. Through talks, conventions, creating awareness and promoting reading clubs, women’s empowerment in Ethiopia grows every day a little more.

The Revolutionary Ethiopia Women’s Association (REWA) is an organization with up to five million members, which focuses on women’s rights in the African country. Reach for Change is another organization well known for its work towards women’s empowerment in Ethiopia. Whilst working directly with Ethiopian citizens, these organizations are working to create an awareness that will help make progress in empowering women in Ethiopia – something that has been a long time coming.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Progress Made: An Update on SDGs in EthiopiaIn 2015, 193 UN Member states agreed to work domestically and with other countries to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The resolution that the states signed on September 25, 2015 outlines a path towards sustainable development first precipitated by the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals try to pick up where the Millennium Development Goals left off in eradicating poverty and inequality.

It has now been two years since that conference took place, and countries have had the chance to assess themselves and see which goals they can achieve and where they can succeed. In July 2017, representatives from certain countries met up again, this time to report some of their findings on a number of goals. The SDGs in Ethiopia that are most important are goals one, two and five.

Concerning the first goal of no poverty, Ethiopia has made immense strides in the past decade and even more since they adopted the SDGs. The poverty rate was 38.7 percent in 2004, but declined to 29.6 percent in 2010. In 2011, the rate declined another 6.2 percent to 23.4 percent by the end of 2015. These improvements came about as a result of government measures to promote economic growth, such as the Growth and Transformation Plan, as well as anti-poverty organizations working all over the country.

Ethiopia’s progress on the second goal, zero hunger, has also been positive, despite the drought that affected the country’s food supply. The country continues to support programs to bolster small farmers. The country also implemented Climate-Resilient Green Agricultural Development in order to slow their greenhouse gas emissions while promoting growth in the agricultural sector. Different organizations also continue to help Ethiopia become more food secure, like The Hunger Project, which works to decrease food insecurity while also mobilizing communities to become self-reliant.

Finally, the fifth goal of gender equality has also seen improvements. In many countries, women tend to lack political agency. In Ethiopia, the number of female representatives in Parliament reached 38.7 percent, while at regional and district levels women’s representation reached 48 percent in 2016.

Updates on the SDGs in Ethiopia may not paint a perfect picture, but they illustrate a positive look at a country moving towards a better future. Progress in the areas of poverty, hunger, equality and sustainability help Ethiopia model the SDGs in action. This progress is emblematic of a country and world moving away from poverty and toward progress.

Selasi Amoani

Photo: Flickr

On August 3, 2017, the U.S. announced a $169 million investment in Ethiopia and Kenya for those experiencing severe drought. Emergency food assistance will provide safe drinking water and health services, as well as specialized nutrition supplies to treat malnourished children.

In Kenya, about 2.6 million people are food-insecure, and malnutrition rises as droughts continue. Funding for Kenya will support refugees fleeing conflict and drought. The U.S.’s assistance for Ethiopia will support 111,000 metric tons of relief food aid for approximately three million people. The U.S.’s investment in Ethiopia and Kenya supports the countries and helps prevent more serious catastrophes.

According to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, without immediate and sustained assistance, food insecurity could reach catastrophic levels in the worst areas of Ethiopia.

“It is not a famine but it is rising up to the levels of getting close to famine,” says Matt Nims, acting director of Food for Peace at USAID. Acting now, during the drought, may ease or prevent the possibility of famine.

In 2015 and 2016, about 10 million Ethiopians, 10 percent of the country’s population, required emergency food aid. Ethiopia imported 1.6 million tons of wheat and lifesaving supplements. Even without the crisis of drought, 22 million Ethiopians live in extreme poverty. With international assistance and taking preventative action, Ethiopia can focus on supporting its civilians and their basic needs with the appropriate resources.

With the U.S.’s investment in Ethiopia and Kenya, the countries gain increased food security and services to prevent malnutrition. The countries are in dire need of international donors to support them and help prevent greater crises. International aid, especially during droughts, is crucial to helping families out of poverty and creating national stability.

According to the United Nations, 795 million people worldwide are undernourished, mostly in developing countries. As wealthier countries partner with developing countries and provide needed resources, poverty can be alleviated and create economic sustainability.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Flickr

Why is Eritrea Poor
It easy to simply throw every poor country into the same bucket and assume that it will always remain so. However, every nation has a different past and a different culture, which is one of the reasons that we must take these factors into account when judging how well they fare today. Most countries, such as Eritrea, a relatively small country on the African coast, have complex backgrounds. In an effort to better understand the current state of the country, one must first ask the question: why is Eritrea poor?

Eritrea’s modern history dates to the late 1800s. It was during this time that European colonization was widespread throughout Africa. In Eritrea’s case, the Italians invaded during this time.

The country tolerated the Italians up until World War II when the British took control of the area. At this point in time, Eritrea was a relatively well-developed country. In the 1950s, due to Ethiopia’s sacrifices in World War II, the lands that now belong to Eritrea were “awarded” to Ethiopia.

If the country was so developed then, why is Eritrea poor now? The concise answer to this is that Ethiopia was poorer than Eritrea, and thus the Ethiopian government focused on building strong industries within Ethiopian lands and neglected the Eritrean economy. This marked the beginning of the country’s recession. Then, in 1961, the most influential event in Eritrean history began: the war for independence from Ethiopia. This left little resources for the development of a stable industry.

What made this war especially chaotic was the continued influence of the Cold War. These events complicated matters so much so, that it left little resources for development of a stable industry. Why is Eritrea poor? This is why.

The war ended in after 30 years in 1991 and the country was formally established in 1993. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian military destroyed large parts of the country during the war, including whatever industrial buildings Eritrea had to its disposal.

An effective government was not established yet, and many Eritreans, during and after the war, had to fend for themselves. Eritreans were left to their own demise that they developed a culture of self-reliance, which they now pride themselves in.

This self-reliance, in the end, turned out to be more harmful than helpful. In 2006, during a severe drought, the country’s government declined humanitarian aid from NGOs such as the U.S.-based Mercy Corps and the Ireland-based Concern for this reason. At this time, 80 percent of the population lived off of subsistence farming, and the country housed an undernourished population of about 30 percent. Eritrea also had to recover from another war with Ethiopia, which lasted between 1998 and 2000.

Why is Eritrea poor? The answer to this question lies in the country’s conviction of trying to make ends meet on its own and its endless clashing with Ethiopia.

Due to these issues, the international community has not been very keen to invest in the country more recently. Eritrea has industries which are waiting to be capitalized on, such as minerals and a wide seafront, but it has a lack of money to begin these endeavors. Landmines left over from the previous wars also make mining especially expensive, leaving mineral deposits untouched.

There is an improvement on the horizon though: the Eritrean government is paying its citizens more fairly and is looking do some initial landscape scouting for mining. Furthermore, the country’s GDP has consistently grown since 2008.

Michal Burgunder

Photo: Flickr

Why Is Ethiopia PoorEthiopia’s poverty rate of 44 percent, and many Ethiopians live in hazardous conditions. Some of the country’s homes are made from cardboard. Others are made from rope, sticks, mud and other materials that cause poor hygiene for residents. Many homes even lack windows and sometimes trap hazardous fumes inside. The question is, why is Ethiopia poor?

Droughts and other disasters cause Ethiopia’s farms to lack necessary amounts of rainwater for irrigation. Famines occur in effect and leave crops to suffer greatly. Ethiopia’s food and fertilizer prices increase as well, leaving many residents without the financial means to afford these items. This is especially problematic when considering that 80 percent of Ethiopians rely on agriculture to stabilize their economy.

A lack of infrastructure and basic services, such as safe drinking water, education and healthcare, contribute to Ethiopia’s poverty as well. Malaria, HIV and other diseases often kill Ethiopia’s young residents who provide for their families. If more Ethiopians had access to healthcare and other vital services, more Ethiopian families might be able to rise above poverty.

Many Ethiopian families that are run by women are especially vulnerable to poverty. Since many Ethiopian women do not participate in awareness programs, many of their infants suffer malnutrition, lack literacy skills and sometimes die. This problem could be avoided if more Ethiopian women, and other less-privileged groups in the country, participated in the awareness programs.

Why is Ethiopia poor? Human rights abuses, even though some have been carried out with the intent to strengthen Ethiopia’s economy, have done great harm to the country’s poor. “When a society is not free, development is not as sustainable,” according to Obang Metho, executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia.

There is hope for positive changes to Ethiopia’s economy. For more than a decade, Ethiopia has witnessed an economic growth rate of 10 percent, bringing the country close to meeting the U.N.’s development goals. Ethiopia’s government plans for the country to have a middle-income rate by 2025.

Ethiopia’s poverty rate in 2000 was 44 percent but dropped to 30 percent by 2011. Agricultural growth was one of the main reasons for this change. It could help Ethiopians in the present if such a change were to occur again. Education, household health and living standards have also been making steady improvements since 2000.

Why is Ethiopia poor? Ethiopia should maintain a focus on agricultural development in order to strengthen its economy. Promoting the growth of farms and helping households overcome migration constraints could help Ethiopians achieve financial security as well. While safety net programs have also proven to be effective, those programs must still adapt to Ethiopia’s changing poverty conditions.

Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Pixabay

Facts and Figures in Ethiopia
With a population of more than 102 million people, Ethiopia is in the top 15 most populous countries in the world. Poverty is a key component to this large number. The people behind these digits have been associated with both suffering and fulfillment in four specific divisions. Outlined below are facts and figures in Ethiopia.

The central plateau of Ethiopia nurtures one of the largest areas of fertile land in east Africa. These highlands supply farmers with agricultural opportunities to grow many of their exported goods. Selling commodities range anywhere from vegetables to sesame seeds. In fact, reports state that coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner for Ethiopia. Despite Ethiopia’s dependence on agriculture sectors for much of its economic growth, only 5% of Ethiopia’s land gets irrigated. Organizations such as Farm Africa are working to help Ethiopian farmers transform this percentage. This form of aid is extremely effective in lifting many Ethiopians out of poverty. One of Farm Africa’s most recent success stories includes training farmers to grow ginger and pepper. These crops are grown in small plots and then sold for top dollar.

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia suffered a change in normal weather patterns. The shift in climate resulted in the worst drought the country had experienced in 30 years. The shortage of rain left many Ethiopians jobless and lacking food security. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization predicts a 50-60% chance of an El Niño event forming in the middle to late 2017. If this warming trend repeats itself, Ethiopia will be faced with famine and deprivation once again. The World Bank is currently backing a project called Multi-sector Investment Planning for Climate Resilience to assist with environmental issues. The platform mobilizes for new and additional climate finance for resilient landscapes in priority sectors. The targets include funding for natural disaster management, climate change, land management and water resource management. This project will remain active until 2018.

Food Security and Nutrition
On top of the 7.8 million people in Ethiopia requiring relief from last year’s drought, an additional eight million rely on the government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program to receive food. According to UNICEF, unstable access to food directly relates to the undernutrition and malnutrition taking place in Ethiopia. Over the past decade, the importance of tackling malnutrition has grown. In 2012 the World Health Assembly adopted the 2025 Global Targets for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition. In 2013 donors committed $23 billion to improve nutrition. With the recent naming of 2016-2025 as the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, more people have begun to recognize the importance proper nutrition holds.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as significant contributors to Ethiopia’s health issues. Health institutions remain severely underfunded in Ethiopia and many are out of reach. Consequently, many of these health problems continue to exist. On the bright side, the country has seen progress in increasing vaccinations and reducing the number of new HIV cases. According to the 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, vaccination coverage among children has increased substantially. Now, 81% of children 12-23 months are vaccinated against polio. Another study concludes 58% of women and 77% of men age 15-49 acknowledge that the constant use of condoms is a reliable form of preventing the spread of HIV.

The above facts and figures in Ethiopia showcase the country’s share of failures and victories. Poverty can be identified as the backbone of each sector, ranging from agriculture to healthcare. Though the summarized hardships appear bleak, it’s the continuous improvements that count for Ethiopia.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries, with about 44% of its population living in poverty. However, Ethiopia also has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Causes of poverty in Ethiopia include a variety of actions stemming from natural disasters as well as man-made actions. However, the main causes of poverty in Ethiopia are brought on by the effects of its economy revolving around agriculture.

About 80% of Ethiopia’s people work in agriculture. Because agriculture is the primary source for Ethiopia’s economy, most of its population takes up much of its rural areas than its urban.

Smallholder farmers form the largest group of poor people in Ethiopia. These farmers lack basic infrastructure, socially and economically, such as health care and educational facilities. They depend on their agriculture for most of their living essentials. Because so many of these farmers live in poverty, they also lack the ability to update their tools to grow better crops.

Beyond the difficulties faced by farmers just to bring in enough money to live, they must also contend with many natural disasters. Ethiopia is a country in conflict with its frequent natural disasters, thus making it even more difficult to farm in the country. Droughts, overgrazing and deforestation have degraded Ethiopia’s land over the years. It has made it difficult for the country to feed itself. Natural disasters have become one of the main causes of poverty in Ethiopia because so many of the country’s inhabitants rely on the weather for their income.

As if difficulty making a living were not enough, Ethiopia’s poverty is further worsened by the recent war. The consequences of the war with Ethiopia’s neighboring country, Eritrea, have been compared to those of World War I, leaving a legacy of economic burden in the country, with millions of dollars spent by an already poor economy.

Furthermore, Ethiopia’s poverty is also caused by rising global market prices. Because of the increase in prices, the situation in the country has worsened. With restrictions to access food and other supplies, households have limited resources and cannot purchase the necessary amount of things such as food and fertilizer. Ethiopia’s unstable conditions have driven investors away from the struggling society.

An economy based on poor agricultural conditions, war and high-priced goods in world markets are some of the main causes of poverty in Ethiopia. The causes of poverty in Ethiopia are varied and deep, but aid is sure to help this country more in the future.

Brandi Gomez

Photo: Flickr