What does “Food Security” mean?
Food security is a term that defines a condition in a country or area where its residents get the required amount of food, people lead a healthy life due to good quality of food and there is abundant availability of food in the country at moderate prices. A country can create an environment of food security when the primary issues of the nation do not include starvation and crimes caused due to food scarcity. Food security is one of the most basic necessity or goal for any country.
A country possesses a strong sense of food security when it can sustain the shocks of temporary unavailability of food due to a good amount of food reserves. A country’s capability to handle food scarcity issues and ensuring that the people of the nation get two proper meals a day is a key factor in the food security concept. Food security is connected with many issues of a country like poverty, unemployment, income inequality, and also with the concept of national security.
Challenges to achieving food security in Ethiopia
There is a diverse but populated array of challenges in the way of food security in Ethiopia. The striking problem in Ethiopia, which is also present in other underdeveloped countries is a high amount of the population considering the amount of people Ethiopia can feed and an ideal range according to the geographic size. As Ethiopia is an agrarian country also signifying that the sustenance of the bulk of the population depends on agriculture, whatever problems which affect the farming sector is bound to impact every other sector of Ethiopia. The ever changing or volatile weather affects the productivity of the agricultural sector deeply and along with that, also the economic growth of Ethiopia and the food availability. As Ethiopia depends on agriculture, due to low amount of food, Ethiopia cannot export crops as there won’t be an excess of crops. Even keeping reserve crops to feed the population of the country is becoming a herculean task. Specifically, the hurdles which can be pointed out that are causing drought-like situations and a food crisis are intra-seasonal dry spells and volatile rain.
Also, due to a lack of reserves, and a limited group of crops available for food, Ethiopia is sensitive towards damage caused by food scarcity and the impact of food scarcity in this country is starvation and economic degradation resulting from a decline in the per capita production of food. Reliance on crops like cereals also has a grave impact on the creation of a food related crisis. As the highest amount of crops that the country produces constitutes of cereals, the reserve that Ethiopia has, consists of cereals.
Solutions to resolve the problem of food security in Ethiopia
Development in trade policies will ensure that when there is a food crisis due to a famine/drought situation which comes often in the case of Ethiopia, stabilization of prices can be created in food which will prevent starvation for the most part. Setting an export barrier in the agriculture will ensure that there is enough food aid remaining to serve the needs of the people in the country. Efforts towards the development of modern irrigation can help sustain crops despite the low rainfall at times. If water is being saved in every household in anyway, it can help in increasing agricultural productivity and decrease the harsh effects of a famine.
An excess of the population is becoming a big problem for Ethiopia, which needs to be solved by introducing reforms for families with less than three children in the family. There is a heavy reliance on agriculture, which needs to change. This can be initiated by investment in other sectors of the economy and generating employment in sectors other than agriculture. The long-term solution of diverting people from one specific line of work is education and literacy which facilitates citizens to work in many fields of work. Literacy reforms should be promoted showing the benefits of being able to contribute to various aspects of society. Crop rotation will also help decrease the reliance on cereals and a variety in the crop production will increase exports in other crops. Looking at the economic resources available with Ethiopia, it is clear that it needs help from organizations like WTO, which has been active in food security initiatives and also the assistance of NGOs who operate internationally bringing reforms in underdeveloped countries.