Ethiopia’s food security
challenges are multi-faceted and require a multi-sectoral approach. However,
a new study argues, the root cause of the problem is its ‘runaway population
The article published on
the recent Bulletin of the Forum for Social Studies (FSS) says demographic
pressure in combination with aggravating environmental degradation and
economic malaise creates ‘a dangerous situation to the health of the
Ethiopia’s current 72
million population is growing at an estimated rate of nearly 3 percent
annually and is expected to reach 100 million within the coming 15 years.
Figures indicate 44 percent of the population is living under the poverty
line while 44 million youths, under the age of 24, are already entering
their reproductive ages.
The author, Sahlu Haile,
underlines the need to control the population growth, which adds some two
million new mouths to feed every year, without which the country could not
develop in any significant way.
agricultural sector- the mainstay of the national economy- is unable to
carry the overrun population growth suffering from widespread erosion,
deforestation and loss of nutrients, the researcher says.
According to recent
reports, the current rate of deforestation of over 75,000 hectares per year
will be completely deforested the 2.5% forested land in less than 20 years.
On the other hand, in the highlands of the country where more than 80% of
the population live soil erosions are reaching up to 400 tons hectare per
annum causing 20,000 to 30,000 hectares are being abandoned annually.
Failure to implement
the country’s population policy is among the major problems indicated by the
author. 'Had the policy been implemented, Ethiopia would have made
significant progress in reducing the rate of population growth, as a result
increasing its chance to attain food self-sufficiency,' he emphasizes.
The author underlines
the need to expand community based reproductive health programs that combine
family planning services with other developmental initiatives that have made
significant contraceptive prevalence rates in some parts of Oromiya, Amhara
and Southern Region.
Sahlu Haile is the
Country Representative for Ethiopia of the David and Lucile Packard
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