Food Security Framework | Underlying Factors
- Recurrent droughts, affecting the whole eastern half of the country. Even the most resilient communities in both eastern crop dependent highlands and pastoral communities find it difficult to cope with severe drought that extends to several seasons. These vulnerable communities are always constrained to feed their families for some part of the year, especially during the typical hunger period of June?August for crop dependent areas and the typical dry periods of June?October and January?April for the pastoral population.
- Rapid population growth and environmental degradation, especially in the eastern half, drought prone, crop dependent areas. As population increases with subsistence farming, the existing fragmented small plots of land are no longer able to feed and accommodate and hence the existing food insecurity was further exacerbated.
- Inappropriate government policies, especially in the area of land tenure, investment, market, continue to limit the options of communities.
- Inadequate off-farm employment opportunities throughout the country.
- Poverty, destitution, and asset depletion as a result of inadequate response to recurrent needs and poor targeting, focusing still on eastern half highland and pastoral areas.
- Conflict, especially in pastoral areas is a serious impediment to pastoral livelihoods;
- Poor and inadequate infrastructure, especially in the drought prone pastoral areas; poor access to education, clean water, and health facilities (according to the Human Development Index, the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio in 2004 was 36 percent, and the percentage of people without access to improved water sources was 78 percent); HIV/AIDS; chronic malnutrition (according to the Demographic and Health Survey of 2005, 47 percent of under five children in Ethiopia are stunted).
- Gender inequality, an inequality observed predominantly in rural Ethiopia as men are expected to handle the income sources; this will continue to create poor intra household income distribution disfavoring women. In addition, girls-boys school enrollment ratio significantly favors men, creating imbalances on access to income opportunities. According to the Central Statistical Authority, Ethiopian women, on average, have 57 percent fewer years of schooling. Illiteracy rates for Ethiopian women hover at just over 70 percent for women nationally and are as high as 94 percent for women in the Afar region.
- Large scale flooding is a recent phenomenon in Ethiopia. Last year (2006), flood occurred in different parts of the country, mainly along the major riverbanks and more than 600,000 people were affected with more than 600 deaths and a significant loss of property. Urban dwellers, farmers, and pastorals were affected by the flood. Although flooding may not be as frequent as the other hazards in Ethiopia, when it occurs its effect is damaging. The majority of the flooding last year occurred in July?August in the western, southern, and northeastern parts of the country, and in October?November in the southeast (Somali region).