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Food Supply Issues Ethiopia Notes

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Tackling Food Supply Issues in Ethiopia Back ground

Ethiopia is located in the horn of Africa

Borders 6 countries, including Sudan, Kenya and Somalia

Highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley

Problems and Impacts
Physical The physical environment poses numerous issues regarding successful and effective food production and transportation. The tropical monsoon climate with hot days and cool nights makes farming more challenging as farmers need to have knowledge of suitable crops/yields to survive in these conditions. Moreover, Ethiopia is divided by the Rift valley where the high plateau offers cooler conditions, whereas in lowland areas the Sahel homes an arid landscape. The dry Sahel climate promotes desertification preventing much of the land from being farmed, as well as posing additional problems such as dangerous sandstorms and bush fires. The loss of topsoil by wind erosion and water erosion has resulted in a great and continuous loss of soil fertility as well as running rivers brown (making access to clean water even more difficult). As a result of all these physical issues, only 11% of the land is arable and the country has an exceeded carrying capacity which has caused the cycle of agricultural output to decline. Currently, less than half of the country is suitable for farming, and the average family can only feed itself for 5 months of the year providing the expected rainfall comes.

Economic Economically, Ethiopia is still in the first stages of development as 75% of the population rely heavily upon their own agriculture. Droughts have destroyed many harvests and have seen the country desperate for food aid- 12 million people need and rely on aid reaching them to survive, aid which comes with 'strings attached.' Such aid requirements have led to the growth of more export crops which have dominated the production of basic foods. Most frustratingly, 85% of Ethiopia's produce is exported as their governments continue to believe that the solution to hunger comes from economic prosperity. Consequently, subsistence farmers have been pushed into poor marginal land as commercial farming 'requires' the most productive areas. These economic problems have seen Ethiopia's industrial growth decline by 7% as well as preventing the 45% of the population of whom are below the poverty line deduct themselves from the hunger cycle. During the civil war, the government forked out $2 million a day alone instead of ceasing dispute and turning to those in desperate need of food. Currently, Ethiopia is held back by a debt of 160%
of their gross national income.

The physical environment has prevented the significant technological development that Ethiopia needs. Desertification means that the albedo landscape reflects much of the suns radiation back into the atmosphere which has an adverse impact on agricultural output. Overgrazing of the land and little water supply obviously prevent effective food production- something which had continued for years due to lack of

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