Achieving Food Security: A Study of the Effective Use of Aid in Ethiopia

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Achieving Food Security: A Study of the Effective Use of Aid in Ethiopia
Dehelean, Alexandra
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Arithmetic mean ( jstor )
Cash ( jstor )
Farmers ( jstor )
Financial investments ( jstor )
Food ( jstor )
Food aid ( jstor )
Food security ( jstor )
Food supply ( jstor )
Prices ( jstor )
Procurement ( jstor )
Food relief
Food security
Public welfare
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


This study evaluates how in-kind food aid, local and regional procurement (LRP) aid, and cash assistance impact the indicators of each dimension of food security in Ethiopia from 2000 to 2013 using macro-level data gathered by international organizations. By establishing which aid types are best suited to address each dimension of food security, aid can be tailored to meet the specific needs of individual food security crises. Analysis of the food security indicator suite shows that food insecurity in Ethiopia is caused not by a lack of availability of food, but rather by low economic and physical access to food, poor utilization of food stemming from low access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as vulnerability to economic, political, and climatic shocks. In-kind food aid and LRP aid positively impact all four dimensions of food security. However, the use of cash assistance in Ethiopia is problematic due to its inflationary nature, because domestic food prices are already very high and volatile. Keywords: food security, food aid, LRP, cash assistance, Ethiopia ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Arts; Graduated May 6, 2014 magna cum laude. Major: Political Science
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Advisor: M. Leann Brown
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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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University of Florida
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Achieving Food Security: A Study of the Effective Use of Aid in Ethiopia Alexandra Dehelean University of Florida Running Head: ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 1


Abstract This study evaluates how in-kind food aid, local and regional procurement (LRP) aid, and cash assistance impact the indicators of each dimension of food security in Ethiopia from 2000 to 2013 using macro-level data gathered by international organizations. By establishing which aid types are best suited to address each dimension of food security, aid can be tailored to meet the specific needs of individual food security crises. Analysis of the food security indicator suite shows that food insecurity in Ethiopia is caused not by a lack of availability of food, but rather by low economic and physical access to food, poor utilization of food stemming from low access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as vulnerability to economic, political, and climatic shocks. In-kind food aid and LRP aid positively impact all four dimensions of food security. However, the use of cash assistance in Ethiopia is problematic due to its inflationary nature, because domestic food prices are already very high and volatile. Keywords : food security, food aid, LRP, cash assistance, Ethiopia ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 2


Achieving Food Security: A Study of the Effective Use of Aid in Ethiopia I. Introduction The concept of food security was first defined at the 1996 World Food Summit. For an individual to be food secure, s/he must "at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life" (WHO, n.d.). Over the years, many methods have been developed to measure the level of food security in an area (FAO, IFAD, & WFP, 2013). Ultimately it comes down to its four dimensions: food availability, food access, food utilization, and stability. Food availability is defined as food being in sufficient and consistent supply in an area, this includes local production as well as trade and aid shipments. Food access refers to the ability of people to acquire food both physically and economically through purchase, barter, donation, or production. Food utilization is determined by the storage and preparation of food, as well as sanitation practices, access to clean water, and nutritional value. Finally, the stability dimension measures the fluctuation of the previous three dimensions over time and the susceptibility of a country or region to economic, political, and climatic shocks. International organizations, donor countries, and nongovernmental organizations have distributed aid for decades to improve the foo d security in impo verished areas all over the globe. The type of aid given varies greatly among actors. For example, some opt for the direct shipment of in-kind food to the area from international sources. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) takes surplus grains from American farmers and ships them to povertystricken areas. On the other hand, agencies like the Save the Children have opted in the past to provide cash assistance in the form of stipends directly to food insecure people, which allows them to purchase their own choice of food locally. Lastly, other international organizations, like ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 3


the European Union (EU) and the World Food Programme (WFP), utilize local and regional food procurement (LRP), which entails using aid money to purchase food in the recipient country itself (or the surrounding region) and then distribute that food to food insecure individuals instead of shipping food internationally or giving them money directly. Economists, policymakers, and aid workers debate over which type of food aid is most effective at combatting food insecurity in developing regions of the world, citing the effects the methods have on markets, the transportation costs and time, and the dietary preferences of the local population, among other factors. However, what is lacking in the literature is the evaluation of these types of aid based on the four dimensions of food security mentioned earlier. Food security may be a broad concept, but it derives from s pecific causes. Therefore, fo od aid cannot be "one size fits all," but rather, tailored to address the sources of food insecurity in each situation; food sho rtages caused by drought are different than those caused by price volatility. This thesis seeks to fill the gap in the literature by discussing the four dimensions of food security (availability, access, utilization, and stability) and asking which of the three types of aid listed above (in-kind food aid, cash a ssistance, and LRP) are most useful for improving each dimension of food security in Ethiopia. The benefit of distributing aid tailored to the food security crisis at hand is twofold. Most importantly, it ensures that those who suffer from hunger receive food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Not only does it save more lives in the present, it ensures a brighter, healthier future for children whose growth and development will not be stunted due to long periods of malnutrition. Additionally, global aid budgets are shrinking with the rise of fiscal conservatism; therefore, if fewer resources are to be invested in combatting food insecurity, the potency of the ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 4


e xisting funds must be increased. By id entifying which types of food aid are most suitable to address each dimension of food insecurity, donors can invest confidently in programs that w ill meet the needs of the population and avoid wasting resources on methods that have proven to be ineffective in given situations. Overall, properly fitting aid methods to the dimensions of food secu rity will benefit all actors involved. Though lying generally in the liberal paradigm, this thesis will approach the research question theoretically by primarily analyzing mid-level food aid theories found in the literature. These theories address the effectiveness of food aid methods economically, politically, and administratively. In addition, principles of macroeconomics will be drawn upon when discussing the effects of supply and demand on food prices and output as well as price volatility in the national and international food markets. Principles of microeconomics will be used when exploring the behavior of farms and households in response to the different aid types with respect to investment, the exchange of goods, and consumption. To undertake robust analysis of the effectiveness of in-kind food aid, cash assistance, and LRP at addressing the four dimensions of food security, this thesis will consist of a case study of food security and the use of aid in Ethiopia. Specifically, it will evaluate how the three types of food aid impact each of the 30 indicators outlined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in The State of Food Insecurity in the World ( 2013). By predicting the consequences of each type of aid on the determinant indicators of food security, future aid plans can be tailored to address the specific needs of the dimensions which are contributing most to the country's food insecurity. Ethiopia was chosen because it has ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 5


consistently ranked as the largest recipient of food aid in the world. International organizations (IOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donor countries, therefore, are act ively involved in different types of food aid programs in Ethiopia to combat food insecurity, whose extensive records can be analyzed for research purposes. There is a microcosm of contributing factors that have impeded the Ethiopian public from achieving food security, including drought, poor infrastructure, political instability and conflict, and economic uncertainty. Conclusions drawn from the analysis of Ethiopia could be helpful in developing aid solutions in other regions facing food insecurity crises. This thesis will primarily draw upon the database of Food Security Indicators compiled by the FAO to analyze the state of food security in Ethiopia from 2000 to 2013. This time frame shows the most recent data available on food security, while also taking into account trends and developments that occurred over the past decade, leading to a more nuanced measure of food security. The database reports figures collected by the FAO itself, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, and the International Road Federation (IRF), which measure the 30 indicators of food security mentioned previously. Other data sources include the financial records and program outcomes of donor governments, other IOs, and NGOs that have been delivering inkind food aid and cash assistance, and conducting LRP in Ethiopia during that time span. In addition, survey and interview data from aid programs, which measure the impact aid has had on the food security and quality of life of aid recipients, will also be utilized. These sources will allow for an analysis that considers the political, economic, administrative, and programmatic ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 6


aspects of food aid, their successes and failures, as well as how they are perceived by the recipient population. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to make recommendations regarding which of the three types of aid are best suited for addressing each of the four dimensions of food security (food availability, food access, food utilization, and stability) in Ethiopia based on their effects on aid recipients, aid donors, markets, and the population as a whole. This will be accomplished by evaluating the food security indicators as they stand and theorizing which aid method(s) could improve the indicators in the future. The hypotheses to be evaluated with the data sources above are as follows: H1: Under conditions of food insecurity caused by lack of food availability, in-kind food aid and LRP aid will best improve the food security of the population. H2: Under conditions of food insecurity caused by lack of food access, cash assistance will best improve the food security of the population. H3: Under conditions of food insecurity caused by poor food utilization, cash assistance and LRP will best improve the food security of the population. H4: Under conditions of food insecurity caused by price and supply instability, in-kind food aid will best improve the food security of the population. In the following section, a review of the relevant food aid literature will be provided; then, sections three will evaluate the four dimensions of food security in Ethiopia using the FAO indicators and discuss the benefits and limitations of in-kind food aid, cash assistance, and LRP to address the needs of each dimension; finally, the fourth section will conclude that Ethiopia's food security problems primarily stem from the access, utilization, and stability dimensions, and ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 7


that in-kind aid and LRP aid helps improve each dimension of food security, whereas cash assistance benefits one and could be beneficial in others too, but is problematic to implement due to its inflationary nature and impact on demand. II. Literature Review Theoretical Literature In my evaluation of the food aid literature, I have found three main categories of scholarship: (1) direct food aid best addresses food insecurity, (2) it is more beneficial to individuals and economies for aid to take the form of cash assistance, and (3) the use of local and regional food procurement (LRP) benefits not only those who are food insecure, but stimulates the local economy. The rationale of these theories is discussed below. In-kind food aid. In-kind food aid is food that is shipped to a food insecure area by donors. Some examples of common in-kind donations include sacks of grain and lentils, nonperishable canned goods, and vegetable oil. Once it arrives at its destination, aid workers disburse the food to people in need (i.e. aid recipients). Though it helps address immediate hunger, rarely is enough food shipped to feed every hungry person in a community. Basu (1996) compares the effectiveness of in-kind food aid and cash assistance programs. However, instead of analyzing how the aid impacts food aid recipients, his study focuses on those individuals who are left out of these programs. He states that by bringing in-kind food aid into an area, the supply of that food (wheat, for instance) increases, which causes the market price of that food to decrease. However, when an agency provides cash assistance, the demand for food among the population increases, which causes the price of the foods demanded to rise. He concludes that recipients of aid are indifferent between the two because they can feed ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 8


themselves either way, but non-recipients have to buy directly from the market, so they would suffer from cash assistance programs in their area due to higher prices, while in-kind food aid programs would benefit them by lowering food prices. This study highlights an important concern, because, realistically, aid programs cannot help every individual in an area, and the effects on non-recipients should be considered. Coate (1989) discusses whether cash or food aid is preferable in various market situations, specifically looking at monopolist traders and competitive traders and their efficiencies. Through economic modeling, he concludes that if food is being imported to a food insecure country, in-kind food aid is preferable if the agency providing food aid is more efficient than the traders in the market. If the traders in the market behave like a monopoly, food aid from an agency is preferred even if it is not efficient (due to the fact that monopolies come with higher prices). This is a more theoretical analysis than the others because it relies on economic models, but it still is valuable because it takes into account the market structure and how that impacts which type of aid is most effective. Lastly, even academics who favor cash assistance admit that in-kind food aid is important in emergency relief situations. Pantuliano (2007) asserts that if in-kind food aid is to be distributed to address short-term hunger, it should be accompanied by development aid and development programs, which tackle the long-term hunger problems. This forward-thinking approach focuses on finding permanent solutions to food insecurity. Overall, the scholars who believe food security is best tackled by in-kind food aid support the method for its ability to ultimately feed hungry people by bringing food to an area where ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 9


there is little, but also for its ability to lower the market prices of those foods, which make them more accessible for everyone in the area. Cash assistance. Cash assistance entails providing the recipients in an aid program with stipends or regular payments of local currency. This method does not require as much time as shipping food from abroad does, and it provides the recipients with flexibility to buy their own choice of food from their area. Gelan (2006) uses statistics to create three scenarios: the first removes food aid from an economy altogether, the second replaces the in-kind food aid with cash assistance equal to its monetary value minus the cost of shipping, and the third replaces in-kind food with cash assistance equal to the entire pledged aid amount, including the money that would have been spent on transport. The author finds increases in welfare in the third scenario across almost all households. Cash assistance gives the households the freedom to purchase food that meets their dietary preferences instead of limiting their options to cereals, which account for the bulk of inkind food aid. Furthermore, the author believes in-kind food aid is a wasteful practice because around 30% of food aid money is spent on transportation. If cash is provided instead, there would be more money going directly to food insecure people. Gelan also finds that in-kind food aid has many negative repercussions. For example, it increases unemployment. On the other hand, cash assistance increases GDP. Cash assistance also increases food prices, but the author believes that the generation of income and employment caused by the receipt of cash outweigh the higher cost of food. Pantuliano (2007) comes to a similar conclusion with a study of food aid in Sudan. The author believes in differentiating between urban and rural areas when deciding between cash or ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 10


in-kind food aid. The author believes that cities are better suited to handle the increase in demand for food brought about by cash assistance due to better infrastructure and connectivity than rural areas would be. Pantuliano raises concerns that the availability of in-kind food aid in Sudan is one of the reasons why the government has not been proactive about tackling the food security problem and enacting policies to combat it and to improve the quality of life for its constituents. This article's main goal was to inform the WFP that a tactical change is needed, because in-kind food aid does not address the real problem of food security in Sudan, which is the lack of development. Proponents of cash assistance believe it is a good method of aid delivery because it is quick, flexible, and allows recipients to make their own decisions about what food to buy. This method is also said to stimulate the economy and overall growth because of increased transactions. Local and regional procurement (LRP). Local and regional food procurement involves a foreign government or organization taking money pledged for aid and buying food inside the country in which it is needed, or in the surrounding region. These types of programs can choose to buy from major agricultural businesses or farms in the area, or they can be designed to specifically target smallholder farmers, as discussed below. Ferguson and Kepe (2011) discuss LRP that targets smallholder farmers in Uganda: specifically, the Purchase for Progress initiative of the WFP. LRP does more than tackle food security, because it provides small farmers with access to markets, which spurs business growth and community development. The WFP buys food from small farmers and puts it in warehouses where it performs quality control and then distributes the food to those in need. This practice ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 11


increases the timely delivery of aid because warehouses are located throughout the country. The use of LRP saw a vast improvement in the agricultural productivity of the regions that participated. Another positive side effect listed by those farmers interviewed was empowerment, especially for the female farmers. The article also outlines the problematic elements of the program mentioned by farmers and aid workers. For example, WFP's funding volatility, transportation, lack of access to loans for farmers to invest, little government support, and sustainability of the program are questioned. Furthermore, if the WFP withdraws from the area, the farmers will lose much of their income because they will only be able to sell to local traders. Overall, this was a valuable evaluation of LRP because it expressed the views of participant farmers themselves, and community response is a key method for ascertaining the success of a program. In their report on The State of Food Insecurity in the World the FAO, IFAD, and WFP (2013) conclude that even when poverty is widespread, increasing food availability and productivity will lead to decreased food insecurity, especially when smallholder farmers are targeted. This ties well with Ferguson and Kepe's (2011) analysis in the previous paragraph. If small farmers are targeted for the procurement, instead of large agricultural businesses that are already established, they are more likely to invest their earnings in growth, whereas a bigger business that is not concerned about survival may keep the earnings as profits. Lentz and Passarelli (2013) compared the timeliness and costliness of in-kind transoceanic food aid and LRP aid. They found that LRP food arrived to the area it was needed an average of 13 weeks earlier than transoceanic shipments, and sometimes up to 19 or 24 weeks, depending on the c ountry (pp. 12-13). Th e authors point out that this is a good thing for ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 12


landlocked countries and countries with few/remote trade routes. Furthermore, it is evident that a quicker delivery of food is better in emergency situations when food aid is desperately needed to keep people alive. The costliness of LRP goods depended on the specific commodity being purchased. For example, vegetable oil was 26% more expensive when bought locally, whereas cereals are 53% cheaper when bought locally (p. 15). However, one major concern with buying locally is price volatility. Generally, prices are more stable in strong, developed economies, whereas volatility exists more prevalently in the developing world. This has a major impact on the cost calculations, so a thorough analysis of the local economic environment is necessary before making assumptions about costliness. However, the benefits in time cannot be denied, and when food is needed immediately, LRP appears significantly more effective and able to combat food insecurity. Garg, Barrett, Gomez, Lentz, and Violette (2013) contend that LRP is not as disruptive on local economies as in-kind food aid or cash. This is a multiple-country analysis that does not find statistically significant change in prices or increased price volatility due to the distribution of LRP food aid to people in need. Harou, Upton, Lentz, Barrett, and Gomez (2013), in the same issue of World Development, find that in Guatemala LRP led to better timely delivery of aid, but more costly aid. In Burkina Faso, both timeliness and costliness were better when LRP was used. However, the authors qualify this finding by stating that geography plays a big role in those two factors, so generalizations cannot be made for all countries. Overall, LRP aid is favored for its quickness and its support of local development and economic growth. It is sometimes more cost-efficient than foreign shipment of food and said to be less harmful to local economies. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 13


Ethiopia-Specific Literature Beyond understanding general theories about in-kind food aid, cash assistance, and LRP, it is important to analyze the existing empirical work done by scholars and aid workers on the ground in Ethiopia itself. The following studies discuss the successes and problems encountered by the use of each aid method in various regions of Ethiopia, further emphasizing that aid is not a "one-size-fits-all" concep t, but should be adapted to the si tuation at hand. Levinsohn and McMillan (2007) claim that because Ethiopia is a net importer of food, all social classes are impacted by the price of food. If aid is brought into the country, the price of that food decreases due to an increase in supply. Therefore, on average, people from every economic strata would benefit from in-kind food aid programs because they lower food prices overall. The authors also point out that decreasing food prices cause a disproportionate welfare increase for the poor individuals in a population. This is likely due to the fact that low-income households on average spend a bigger portion of their income on food than do wealthier households. Dayton-Johnson and Hoddinott (2004) focus on the behavior of in-kind aid recipient households in Ethiopia, particularly trying to ascertain if the food aid creates a disincentive to work. They find that when running statistical tests on the recipients of aid, if one controls for the characteristics of a household and the location of the household, the labor supply among in-kind food aid recipients (specifically males) actually increases In fact, all negative effects of food aid, save two, disappeared once the control variables were added. The reasons why this occurs are not discussed by the authors, but United Nations Development Programme's (2012) studies on ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 14


the relationships between food security and development suggest food security enhances people's health and productivity. Kebede (2006) considers Ethiopia's Productive Safet y-Net Programme (PSNP), which provides cash transfers to food insecure households. The author finds that replacing emergency food aid with more predictable income supplements allows agencies to better tackle the chronic aspect of food insecurity. She notes that cash is more suitable for areas with better infrastructure and stronger markets, such as urban centers, while admitting that fragile rural economies might fare better with in-kind food aid because they might not be able to meet the increased demand. One positive aspect of this program is its adaptability: it seems to favor cash overall, but it provides in-kind aid to areas that have availability problems and fragile economies. Districts are allowed to choose their own combination of the two to fit their specific needs. The author suggests more precise targeting methods in future operations, so that fewer very impoverished individuals slip through the cracks and are forced to pay the higher food prices, a concern raised by Basu (1996) This study is very pragmatic about the impact of in-kind versus cash assistance on the developing world. It seems in favor of cash assistance, but it does not shy away from pointing its drawbacks as well. Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux (2010) do a comparative analysis of the cash and in-kind food aid recipients of the PSNP that Kebede (2006) studied earlier. They find a positive correlation between the food security and income growth of a household and the receipt of either in-kind food aid or a mixture of in-kind aid and cash. Their analysis discovers that the income growth of cash-receiving households is actually compromised by the inflationary nature of cash transfers. They maintain that commodities retain their value over time, but the value of money is ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 15


volatile. For example, in one district a three-fold increase in food prices caused a four-fold increase in the number of households needing food aid to eat sufficiently. The authors believe that aid agencies should focus more on the effect of cash aid on inflation rates in countries, given the experience in Ethiopia. This article addresses the importance of the fourth dimension of food security: price stability. According to an analysis of LRP in Ethiopia conducted by Walker and Wandschneider (2005) for the UK Department of International Developme nt, approximately one quarter of all food aid in Ethiopia is locally procured. The authors view this positively because it increases the welfare of Ethiopians by generating job opportunities and supporting food prices set by producers. In addition, LRP food aid purchased on local markets is more compatible with the dietary preferences of the Ethiopian population. For example, sorghum and maize are more popular grains among the people than wheat, which is the most common type of imported grain. LRP also led to the growth of the blended food industry, in which various nutritious components are mixed into one supplemental food product. Due to this industry, employment and economic activity in Ethiopia has risen, which increases national welfare. Furthermore, the authors find that LRP can help maintain the price stability of food crops. However, some concerns raised by the authors are that, locally, aid business primarily goes to larger distributors who have the capacity to handle large orders in a timely fashion. Similarly, regional procurement is better handled by larger aid organizations (like the WFP), that have extensive networks and resources. Therefore, it is harder to accomplish by smaller Ethiopian NGOs. Overall, it appears that each food aid type has seen both successful and problematic implementation in Ethiopia by various organizations and the Ethiopian government itself. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 16


Further analysis specific to the context must be conducted to determine which types of aid are best suited for each source of Ethiopian food insecurity. The extant literature provides persuasive arguments for and against the use of each type of food aid in Ethiopia and globally. For example, in-kind food aid leads to lower market prices for food, increased labor supply, is less harmful to non-recipients of aid, and is likely a better option for rural communities. However, in-kind food aid leads to unemployment in farming, and it requires a longer transportation time and a significant amount of money to ship from a donor country to the food insecure area. Cash assistance is quick to distribute, increases the freedom of aid recipients to choose what they want to eat, stimulates the local economy, and is highly suitable to urban areas that have strong infrastructure and more developed markets. Yet it leads to higher market prices of food and it is challenging for rural communities that may not have an adequate supply to deal with increasing demand. Local and regional procurement is quick to deliver, often cheaper than foreign in-kind aid, and it contributes to the development of an area. On the other hand, LRP is more sensitive because of price and supply volatility in developing countries, and it raises the question of sustainability for small farmers who sell their goods to agencies that carry out LRP. One common theme is the importance of geography and the local economy in determining the effectiveness of each aid type. These studies are strong in their diversity. Case studies range from Guatemala to Sudan to Ethiopia itself. They include the input of interviewed farmers, aid workers, political scientists, and development economists. Analyses considered aid recipients, non-recipients, their local communities, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies. Few sources looked deeply into how the aid impacted the many facets of food security, ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 17


however. For instance, the problem of insufficient supply in rural areas to respond to rising demand due to cash assistance was raised by both Pantuliano (2007), Kebede (2006), and Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux (2010): this would fall under th e second dimension of food security, food access. A more robust analysis of these three food aid methods that engages the food security dimensions and their indicators is necessary to more appropriately match a food security crisis with the appropriate type of aid. By tailoring the relief to meet the needs of individual situations, one is able to not only temporarily treat the symptoms of food insecurity, but provide a lasting cure that promotes the health and prosperity of people. The following section analyzes the state of food security in Ethiopia from 2000 to 2013 (as the data allow) using indicators outlined by the FAO, the WFP, and IFAD. After describing food security as it stands using descriptive statistics and linear regressions to model growth trends, analyses evaluating how each of the three types of food aid can affect each indicator will follow. III. Food Security and Aid in Ethiopia Food Availability The dimension of food availability has been broken down into five key indicators by the FAO, the WFP, and IFAD. The indicators measure the existence of a sufficient and consistent supply of food in Ethiopia. However, it is important to note that while an adequate food supply might exist, it does not necessarily mean that the food is equitably distributed or accessible to all citizens, which is an issue tackled in the next section (Food Access). The following food availability figures include local production, as well as trade and aid. The data have been drawn from the FAO's Food Security Indicators Database (FAO, 2013). ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 18


Average Dietary Energy Supply Adequacy is measured as the percentage of the average daily energy requirement available in a country calculated in three-year averages to avoid error. From 2000 to 2013, Ethiopia's average dietary energy supply adequacy was 93%. Data ranged from 85% in the 2000-2002 period to 101% in the 2011-2013 period. By using linear regression to find a best-fit line, the average growth rate is 1.43% per year, showing a steady, positive increase in the adequacy of the food supply. However, Ethiopia still trails behind the world, which had an average of 119% in the same time span, and other developing regions, which had an average of 115%. At the same time, the achievement of 100%+ adequacy since the 2010-2012 period indicates that the dietary energy supply in Ethiopia is large enough to provide every person in the country with at least their minimum daily energy requirements. However, the indicators that measure the availability of food in a country do not address its distribution, merely its existence. Given that this indicator measures the dietary energy supply that exists in the country, the supply of food itself must increase, which points to in-kind food aid and regional procurement as the best options for improving food availability in the short run. Bringing in-kind food aid from abroad has the advantage of lowering food prices because it would increase the supply of food, which benefits the hungry by increasing access. Using LRP to purchase food from other countries in the region would not only boost their economies and provide an increase in the food supply in Ethiopia, but it would cater to the regional food preferences more than foreign shipments of grain might. On the other hand, cash assistance would be beneficial in the long run if targeted toward citizens who grow their own food for sustenance and smallholder farmers, so ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 19


that they may invest in seeds, fertilizer, or livestock, which could help increase the food supply in the future. Average Value of Food Production measures the amount of money (US$) invested in food production per capita per year, also calculated in three-year averages to decrease error. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia had an average of $96 in investment per capita. Values ranged from $82 in 2000-2002 to $109 in 2009-2011, with a $2.48 dollar per year average investment growth rate. Ethiopia trails far behind the world average, which averages about $283 in investment per capita, and the developing countries, which average investment of about $240 per capita during the same time span. Unlike the previous indicator, which saw Ethiopia relatively closer to world and develop ing country avera ges, in this case, Ethiopia's average investment is not even half as much as the developing world average per capita. This signifies that the size of Ethiopia's food production sector is smaller compared to other countries' which is concerning because this sector ultimately determines how much food can be produced domestically. To increase the dollar amount of food production per capita, it is clear that cash assistance would be the ideal aid method. By giving aid recipients the flexibility of cash payments, they can freely invest in the production/improvement of their own gardens or farms, which increases their personal food availability and overall ability to sustain themselves. One must consider the location of the households receiving cash payments: rural households are more likely to invest in agriculture because they have the space, whereas urban households might prefer to simply purchase their food. At the same time, as Kebede (2006) and Pantuliano (2007) mentioned, rural markets might not have the capacity to handle the increased demand caused by an influx of cash assistance, while more-sophisticated urban markets could. Market stability should be considered ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 20


before pursuing this aid type. Another option would be LRP, as the profits made by local farmers who are paid by donors to provide food aid can therefore be invested in more/better food production. The effect of in-kind food aid (whether international or regional) on investment, however, is ambiguous. On one hand, it could be argued that households may face a disincentive to invest in food production if they have a steady stream of in-kind food aid to rely on. On the other hand, by increasing in-kind food aid to a household, the supplementation of their diet frees up the money they would have otherwise spent for investment purposes, leading to an increase in per capita food production investment. The Share of Dietary Supply Derived from Cereals, Roots, and Tubers is an indicator that measures the percentage of the food supply that is composed of cereals, roots, and tubers, which is calculated in three-year averages to avoid errors. From 2000 to 2010, 79% of Ethiopia's food supply consisted of cereals, roots, and tubers. The range varies from 82% in 2000-2002 to 75% in 2008-2010, with a negative growth rate of -.73% per year. According to the FAO, the WFP, and IFAD, a decrease in the percentage of food supply derived from cereals, roots, and tubers is an indication of an increase in the quality of a diet (FAO, IFAD, & WFP, 2013). Accordingly, Ethiopia falls behind the rest of the world, which averages about 52% of food supply from these sources, and the developing regions, which average about 58% of food supply from these sources in the same time span. It is natural that the percentage is quite higher in Ethiopia due to a majorly cereal-reliant diet and the magnitude of in-kind food aid received by the country, which primarily consists of cereals, inflating the indicator. If one wanted to decrease the share of the food supply in Ethiopia derived from cereals, roots, and tubers (indicating a higher-quality, more diverse diet), one must change the ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 21


composition of the in-kind food aid received from international and regional sources. Given that this indicator measures the supply of food as it stands in Ethiopia, cash assistance cannot increase the amount of food available from non-cereal sources in the short run. Cash assistance has the ability to spur investment in the production of non-cereal foods by households in the long run by giving them the means to purchase seeds and farming technology. However, to increase the supply of non-cereal food in Ethiopia in the short run, one must change the composition of in-kind food aid entering Ethiopia from international donors and regional procurement. This objective can be achieved, for example, by substituting more soybeans and lentils for rice and other grains, which currently make up the majority of aid sent to Ethiopia. Average Protein Supply is the fourth food availability indicator, which is measured by the grams of protein available per person per day, calculated in three-year averages to avoid errors caused by data collection. From 2000 to 2010, Ethiopia averages a food supply consisting of 57 grams of protein per person per day. The range spans from a maximum of 63 grams in 2008-2010 to a minimum of 53 grams in 2000-2002, and has a positive growth rate of 1.18 grams per year. Ethiopia's values are several grams lower compared to the rest of the world, which averages at 76 grams of protein per person per day, and the rest of the developing countries, wh ich average about 70 grams of protein per person per day in the same time frame. An important thing to note, however, is that while Ethiopia's protein supply values are comparatively low, in absolute terms they not only meet but surpass daily protein requirements. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a female over the age of 19 should consume about 46 grams of protein per day, and a male over the age of 19 ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 22


should consume about 56 grams per day (CDC, n.d.). Based on these standards, the Ethiopian protein supply has been great enough to meet the protein needs of every citizen since 2004. To increase the value of this indicator, which measures the amount of protein available in a country per person per day, one must increase the absolute supply of protein in the country. Cash assistance, as mentioned in the previous indicator's analysis, might help increase protein supply in the long term through increased agricultural investment in protein-rich crops and livestock, but in the short run, it does not increase the availability of protein to those in need. To increase the protein supply, in-kind food shipments (internationally-sourced or regionallyprocured) must increase in general or stay constant but shift in composition (away from being prominently cereal-based to containing more protein-rich food like beans, lentils, or nuts). Finally, the last food availability indicator is Average Supply of Protein of Animal Origin. This measures the supply of animal protein in grams per capita per day, calculated in three-year averages to minimize error. From 2000 to 2010, Ethiopia had an average supply of 7 grams of animal protein per person per day. The values ranged from 6 grams in 2000-2002 to 8 grams yearly since about 2006, with a minuscule positive growth rate of .22 grams per year. The world average is about 29 grams, and the developing regions average about 22 grams in the same time span. This indicator is certainly a sign of affluence, as wealthier people tend to draw a bigger percentage of their protein from animal sources. Ultimately, one would assume that as long as protein needs are met in general, the source from which it comes is not as important. An increase in the animal protein supply would indicate economic growth and a higher standard of living as a whole, which correlates with higher food security, but it might not be necessary to achieve it. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 23


In order to increase the supply of animal protein available per capita per day in Ethiopia, one would have to increase the amount of canned meat given either in-kind by international donors or regionally procured. This would see a short-run increase in supply. However, this is problematic and possibly unethical for a few reasons: the production of meat is more expensive than the production of non-animal protein sources (like dry beans or lentils, for example). If an organization budgets a certain dollar amount for aid, would it be ethical to opt for supplying more-expensive animal protein to fewer people instead of cheaper plant-based proteins to more people? That is up to the individual organization, but it is certainly something to consider. Furthermore, when the excessive consumption of animal products has caused such health problems in developed countries due to heart disease, should a growth in animal product consumption be encouraged at all in the developing regions? Finally, cash assistance would not increase the animal protein supply in Ethiopia in the short run, but it could lead to increased investment in the raising of livestock in the long run. After evaluating all five food availability indicators and the data, it can be argued that food availability is not the primary cause of food insecurity in Ethiopia. For example, since about 2010, Ethiopia has had between a 100% and a 101% average dietary supply adequacy. Furthermore, since 2004, Ethiopia has had an average per capita per day protein supply that meets the minimum daily requirements set by the CDC. Enough protein and dietary energy has been available in Ethiopia to meet minimum daily requirements for its population for years; however, there is still widespread hunger and malnutrition. This indicates that the food security problems do not stem from the availability of food, but the other dimensions of food security. Food is available in Ethiopia, but for various reasons it is not getting to those who need it. The ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 24


other indicators show that Ethiopia's food supply is mostly comprised of cereals, roots, and tubers and not rich in animal protein (a reflection of lower wealth, but better health, as animal protein-rich diets have been causing chronic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the affluent populations of the developed world). Las tly, the average value of food production is low, indicating a small food production sector, likely caused by lack of financial resources to invest. Through economic analysis, it was found that the best aid method to tackle food insecurity caused by lack of food availability (i.e. favorably shift the food availability indicators) is in-kind food aid from international sources or LRP from surrounding countries. This type of aid has the ability to increase the supply of dietary energy availab le, increase the supply of protein available, increase the supply of animal protein available, and decrease the fraction of food supply that is composed of cereals, roots, and tubers in a country. In a ddition, an increase in in-kind food aid or regional procurement could lighten the burden of food insecure households, allowing them to invest their income in food production. Cash assistance would also be an equally potent method for increasing investment in agricultural production, but its effect on the other indicators were either not as positive as in-kind food aid and regional procurement or quite positive, but in the long-term. It appears that to best address the first dimension of food security, one must increase the availability of food in through international in-kind food aid shipments or regional procurement. Food Access The access dimension of food security refers to people's ability to acquire the food available in their country through purchase, barter, donation, etc. Access is split into two different categories: physical access and economic access, which holistically evaluate "access" to ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 25


food because they take into account both the distribution of food throughout the country and whether people have the financial means to obtain it. The indicators that determine food access will be discussed using data from the FAO's Food Security Indicators Database (FAO, 2013). Determinant Indicators. The determinant indicators of access to food measure variables which determine a person's ability to access food both economically and physically. First, the physical access determinant indicators will be analyzed in relation to the three different types of food aid, followed by the economic access determinant indicator. The first indicator of food access is Percentage of Paved Roads over Total Roads. Paved roads are significant in terms of food access because they provide both producers and consumers a means of getting to and from markets to exchange goods. A lack of sufficient paved roads can indicate that food is not reaching those who need it. Ethiopia averages around 13% paved roads from 2000 to 2007, with values ranging from a low of 11.0% in 2005 to a high of 19.1% 2004. A linear regression indicates a very small positive trend of .156% growth per year, but the fluctuation in values indicates that other variables are impacting this indicator. In this case, natural disasters might be the explanation, as the dip from 19.1% to 11% corresponds with major flooding within Ethiopia in 2005 that caused economic damage of over 6 million USD (PreventionWeb, 2013). However, the most recent data indicates that the percentage of paved roads is beginning to rise again, as the country recovers from the disaster. The three food aid types being analyzed would not be able to affect the percentage of paved roads, as that depends on government investment in infrastructure and transportation; however, this indicator is a valid tool for explaining why all three may be unsuccessful. According to the World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI), the most recent data show ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 26


that 35.7% of Ethiopia's land is used for agriculture and 82.7% of the population lives in rural areas (WB, 2014). If one makes the assumption that rural areas have proportionally less paved roads than urban areas, the reason behind Ethiopia's very low percentage of paved roads becomes clear. Kebede (2006) and Pantuliano (2007) both stated that rural areas with small, fragile markets might not be able to handle a large influx of cash because they would not be able to meet consumer demands with adequate food supply. The use of cash assistance could, therefore, prove ineffective in Ethiopia if consumers who receive cash are not able to get to a market to purchase food because of insufficient infrastructure. Furthermore, if local procurement is used, would farmers and NGOs have the means to get their agricultural goods to the hungry populations from one part of the country to another? At the same time, distributing international in-kind food aid or regionally procured aid is also difficult because it, too, has to be transported from ports and other cities to food insecure areas. While paved roads are not necessary for shipment of food by trucks, they facilitate distribution and are more sturdy, and therefore less likely to be damaged by a natural disaster than a dirt road may be. Therefore, to render these aid types more potent and decrease food insecurity, investment in infrastructure must be taken by the government (with funding from agencies like the World Bank, IMF, or USAID) to promote both the efficient distribution of food aid and the exchange of goods. The second indicator of physical food access is Road Density, measured as kilometers of roads per 100 square kilometers of land area. Ethiopia averages 3.50 km of roads per 100 sq. km of land area from 2000 to 2010, ranging from a low of 2.68 km in 2000 to a high of 4.02 km in 2010. A linear regression of the data shows a low, but positive growth rate of .15 km of roads per 100 square km of land per year. However, a stagnation of road building is seen from 2007 to ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 27


2010, when the indicator remained at a constant 4.02 km for the duration of all four years. The world average during the same time period was 23.94 km of roads per 100 km of land area, and the average for the rest of the developing world was 19.25 km. The developing world average is rather close to the world average; however, Ethiopia is severely trailing behind both, which puts it at a disadvantage considering most aid shipment in Ethiopia is done via truck delivery. Just as with the previous physical access indicator, cash assistance, LRP, and in-kind food aid cannot affect this measure, but it further emphasizes the shortage of transportation routes on which economic exchange and aid delivery are dependent. According to a study done by the World Bank, "Ethiopia has five times fewer roadsthan comparable countries controlling for income, geography and other factors" because of low infrastructure endowment (WB, 2007). Not only is Ethiopia behind, but the trend does not leave room to be optimistic, as it indicates a lack of resources on the part of the government to improve the national infrastructure, given the completely static level of road density seen over the last four years of recorded data. None of the three methods of aid being observed can reach their full potential if the distribution of goods is stunted by lack of physical (and as a consequence, economic) infrastructure. The third indicator of physical access is Rail Lines Density, which is measured as the kilometers of rail lines present for every 100 square kilometers of land. The FAO does not have data for Ethiopia for this indicator in the Food Security Indicators Database. However, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), there exist only 681 km of railroads in Ethiopia, which correspond to the Ethiopian-owned segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railroad. As a result, Ethiopia ranks 102 nd in the world based on kilometers of railroads (CIA, ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 28


2014). Not only is the railway system small in absolute and relative terms, but it appears to be inefficient as well, as the CIA also notes that most of the railroad has been inoperable as of 2008. The Rail Lines Density indicator has significant implications for the distribution of food aid. It was previously seen that the number of roads in Ethiopia are insufficient and negatively impacting people's physical access to food. An alternative means of shipment for food would have been via train from surrounding countries and port cities; however, Ethiopia is not connected by a railroad network to all of its neighbors, nor does it have railways that extend to all parts of the country. In fact, Ethiopia's only railroad connects it to Djibouti, which is not even one of its major agricultural trading partners, but it does provide access to water (CIA, 2014). The shipment of aid from regional sources into Ethiopia by train is therefore severely limited, as is the internal distribution of in-kind or LRP food aid via freight. Furthermore, alimentary corporations and large farms are limited in their ability to distribute their goods throughout the country by the meager railroad system, which calls into question the rural economies' ability to supply enough food to meet a rise in demand caused by the provision of cash payments. The one indicator of economic access to food given is the Domestic Food Price Level Index (DFPLI). This indicator is found by dividing the Food Purchasing Power Parity by the general Purchasing Power Parity, which allows one to compare the price of food relative to the price of other goods in an economy. From 2000 to 2013, Ethiopia averaged a 1.81 DFPLI, which peaked in 2008 at 2.04 and reached its lowest point in 2001 at 1.61. This means that on average, food costs 1.81 times more than other goods in the economy. A linear regression of the data indicates a very small, positive index growth rate of 0.0196 per year. This shows that in addition to regular inflation, food prices themselves are rising at a higher rate than the prices of other ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 29


goods. During the same time period, the world average DFPLI was 1.37, and the developing countries' DFPLI was 1.63. Ethiopia, thus, has comparatively higher food prices to the rest of the world based on purchasing power. In order to decrease the value of this indicator, and therefore make food more economically accessible to the people of Ethiopia, the price of food must decrease. According to macroeconomic theory, if the supply curve of an item shifts out (i.e. increases), the output of that item increases, and the price of that item decreases. Both internationally-sourced in-kind food aid and regionally-sourced LRP aid increase the supply of a given food item in Ethiopia, and would, therefore, have a deflationary impact on food prices. Both Basu (1996) and Levinsohn and McMillan (2007) agree that this economic shift brought about by importing food aid is beneficial both to the recipients of food aid themselves and to all citizens who purchase food in the country, who can now afford more with the same income. On the other hand, cash assistance and local procurement both shift the demand curve for food out, which leads to not only higher output, but also higher food prices. Therefore, these two options might further increase the DFPLI, and thereby decrease the people's economic access to food. Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux (2010) also warn of the negative repercussions of cash assistance due to its inflationary nature. Outcome Indicators. As opposed to determinant indicators discussed above, which show factors that lead to or directly cause varying levels of access to food, outcome indicators show the consequences of the given levels of access on the population. More specifically, the following section will analyze the effects of insufficient physical and economic access to food on the diet of the Ethiopian population. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 30


The first outcome indicator of food access is Prevalence of Undernourishment, which measures the likelihood (as a percentage) that a randomly selected person from the population of a given country consumes less than his/her daily energy requirement, calculated in three-year averages to decrease error. From 2000 to 2013, Ethiopia's average Prevalence of Undernourishment is 44.9%, the data ranges from a high of 53.5% in 2000-2002 to a low of 37.1% in 2011-2013. A linear regression of the data shows a negative growth rate of -1.5% per year, which means that the Prevalence of Undernourishment, and therefore Ethiopian food insecurity, is slowly decreasing. The world average over the same time period was 13.7%, and the average for developing countries was 16.6%. The likelihood that one randomly picks an undernourished person from the population in Ethiopia is more than twice as high as the rest of the developing world and three times higher than the world average, indicating that there is a greater prevalence of undernourishment in Ethiopia, as almost half of all Ethiopians do not consume the number of calories they require in a single day. The second outcome indicator is Share of Food Expenditure of the Poor, which is the proportion of food expenditures over overall consumption expenditures for households in the bottom quintile of the Ethiopian population. This indicator was measured only once during the time period explored by this thesis: in 2004, 57% of total expenditures made by poor households were food expenditures. This indicator is based on Engel's Law in economics, which states that poor households spend a greater percentage of their income on food than do rich households. Therefore, this indicator is a proxy to poverty, as the higher the average percentage of food expenditure is, the poorer the households in a country are. While insufficient data exist to have any world or developing region averages, as an example for comparative purposes, according to ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 31


the Food Security Indicator Database (2013), the poorest quintile of people in the United States in the same year spent 18% on food. While this comparison does not take into account the higher cost of living in the United States, it is still shows the great disparity between the two countries. The high food expenditure rate also mathematically makes sense if one recalls that the domestic food prices in Ethiopia are quite higher than the rest of the world as a whole, so households spend a bigger fraction of their income to pay for more expensive food. The next outcome indicator to be considered is the Depth of the Food Deficit, which measures the average number of additional calories needed per day for a person to meet his/her average daily dietary energy requirement (calculated in three-year averages to reduce error). From 2000 to 2013, each person in Ethiopia needed about 387 additional calories per day to meet his/her needs, this indicator ranged from a high of 377 calories in 2000-2002 to a low of 143 calories in 2011-2013. A linear regression of the data shows a steady, negative growth rate of -14.38 calories per person per year, which indicates that the average amount by which a person is undernourished in Ethiopia is slowly decreasing. Finally, the last outcome indicator of food access is the Prevalence of Food Inadequacy, which is measured as the percentage of people in Ethiopia who do not consume enough calories to maintain normal physical activity. This indicator is similar to Prevalence of Undernourishment, but it is broader because it includes those citizens who may surpass the minimum average daily dietary energy requirements, yet still have too few calories than they should given their level of work and physical exertion. From 2000 to 2013, Ethiopia averaged a 51.6% Prevalence of Food Inadequacy, which ranged from a high of 60.0% in 2000-2002 to a low of 44.0% in 2011-2013. This outcome indicator shows a negative trend of -1.465% per year, ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 32


meaning that each year, an additional 1.465% of the population begins to have enough food to meet their physical needs. The world average during the same time frame was 20.5% of the population, and while the developing countries had an average of 24.3% of their populations. This means that one is more than twice as likely to face food inadequacy in Ethiopia than in the rest of the developing countries, and that more than half of all Ethiopians do not consume enough food to fuel the amount of physical activity they are performing each day. In-kind food aid, LRP, and cash assistance would all be able to decrease the Prevalence of Undernourishment, the Share of Food Expenditures of the Poor, the Depth of the Food Deficit, and the Prevalence of Food Inadequacy (the outcome indicators of food access). Whether it be directly through food, or indirectly through cash, the receipt of aid by the hungry in Ethiopia would help increase the calories they consume in a day (decreasing undernourishment, the food deficit, and the food inadequacy). However, the use of LRP and international in-kind food aid would decrease the Share of Food Expenditures by decreasing the numerator of the ratio (the amount of food expenditures). On the other hand, the use of cash assistance would decrease the Share of Food Expenditures by increasing the denominator (overall consumption expenditures). Both positively impact the indicator, but in different ways. To differentiate among the three aid types, one must return to the argument made by Basu (1996), who found that while aid recipients were indifferent to aid types (because they all improved their intake), non-recipients are better off when in-kind aid is used as opposed to cash assistance because it lowers food prices and therefore makes food more accessible to all citizens. Overall, the food access dimension contributes greatly to the food insecurity present in Ethiopia. By analyzing the determinant indicators, it was found that access is critically limited by ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 33


the Ethiopian infrastructure. In the previous section, it was established that the Ethiopian food supply is sufficient to meet the minimum dietary needs of the population (see Food Availability): in this section it is evident that one major reason that hunger is still prevalent despite adequate availability is due to lack of economic and physical access to the food supply. Ethiopia trails behind the rest of the world in both roads and railways (key means of shipment). It is difficult to reach rural areas of the country to distribute aid if the infrastructure does not allow it. Therefore, is important for aid agencies to evaluate if it would be wiser to invest aid money into the development of reliable infrastructure and transportation, which would facilitate the distribution of food aid to rural areas in the future, while at the same time giving the Ethiopian economy a boost by also facilitating the exchange of goods between businesses and consumers. However, is it ethical to shift money away from short-term emergency food aid, to long-term development aid when major segments of the population are starving right now? This conflict of interests between development aid and emergency food aid was brought up by Pantuliano (2007), who evaluated the food security crisis in Sudan. The author concluded that a shift to development aid would address the root cause of food insecurity in the country and would lead to long-term improvement and less aid dependency. In fact, better distribution of existing food would decrease (and perhaps eliminate) the need for aid in the future. Unfortunately, the three types of food aid which this thesis evaluates (LRP, in-kind food aid, and cash assistance) cannot change the number of roads and railroads in Ethiopia, and therefore increase physical access to food, but they can impact economic access. It was found that regionally procured food and international in-kind shipments of food increase economic access to food because they cause a decrease in the price of food, while cash assistance and local ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 34


procurement would cause an increase the price of food. Since in-kind food aid and regional procurement can both be advantageous for increasing the caloric intake of the Ethiopian population (and therefore positively impacting the outcome indicators), we can conclude that they might be the best means of increasing food access in Ethiopia besides investing in the development of its infrastructure. Food Utilization The food utilization dimension is defined as the ability of a household to benefit nutritionally from the food to which it has access. This includes the storage, processing, and preparation of food, which requires sanitary environments and access to clean water. Just as food access in the previous section had determinant and outcome indicators, this dimension does as well. First, the determinant indicators will be evaluated, followed by the outcomes. The data for the indicators being analyzed are drawn from the FAO's Food Security Indicators Database (FAO, 2013). Determinant Indicators. The determinant indicators of food utilization are variables which determine if proper food utilization can be achieved given the conditions present in the country. Both indicators deal primarily with infrastructure, which is the foundation for the sanitary utilization of food products. The first indicator is Percentage of Population with Access to Improved Drinking Water Sources. "Access" is defined by the FAO as at least 20 liters of water per capita per day that exists within a 1 km radius of the household, and "improved sources" include household connection to a water system, a safe well or spring, rainwater collection system, a borehole, or a public standpipe. Access to water improves food utilization because it provides a means of ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 35


washing impurities, toxins, and chemicals out of food. Water allows households to cook their food: boiling rice and vegetables, making porridges and soups, etc. Furthermore, water prevents the spread of diseases by allowing those who cook for their families to clean their hands and kitchen surfaces before handling food. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia had an average of 39% of the population with access to improved drinking water sources, with a low of 29% in 2000 and a high of 49% in 2011, indicating a 1.826% per year growth rate. In the same time period, the world average was 86%, and the developing countries average was 83%. The data show a shocking fact that less than half of Ethiopia's population has access to improved water sources, and a person in Ethiopia is over two times less likely to have access to water than the average person living in a developing country. One variable that impacts this indicator to consider is the occurrence of droughts: Ethiopia had major droughts in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2009 (PreventionWeb, 2013). If the overall water supply is suffering, there is less water to spread among the population, leading to decreased access. The effectiveness of the three types of aid may be impeded by the lack of access to improved water sources. In-kind and LRP aid may be distributed to hungry populations, but without the ability to sanitarily prepare this food, there is an increased risk for the spread of disease among the population. Furthermore, without the ability to cook food, people do not extract all the possible nutritious benefits available in the food. On the other hand, cash assistance could be advantageous because households can use it to invest in technologies to improve their access to better water sources (for example, by building a rainwater retention system, connecting their house to a public water system, or building/protecting a well). However, it was previously established that rural markets might not have the resources to respond to an ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 36


increase in demand for goods and services that comes with cash assistance (see Kebede, 2006). This is problematic because while water access is low country-wide, one can assume that rural areas have lower water access and are, therefore, in greater need of this investment. Ultimately, the question of development aid comes to the foreground once more, as these aid types provide short-term hunger relief, whereas the problems illuminated by this indicator largely stem from low development and scarce investment in infrastructure by the government (see Pantuliano, 2007). These aid types will continue to only skim the surface of the problem until people have adequate access to water to prepare their food. The second determinant indicator is Percentage of Population with Access to Sanitation Facilities. A sanitation facility is any system that serves to dispose of (and separate people from) human waste. The complexity of such a system can vary from a pit latrine to household connection to a public sewage system. This indicator is important because effective sanitation facilities decrease the spread of disease and the contamination of food, which allow for the better utilization of food, and therefore increases an area's food security. From 2000 to 2011, an average of 14% of Ethiopians had access to sanitation facilities, ranging from a high of 21% in 2011 to a low of 8% in 2000, indicating a slow growth rate of 1.145% per year. The world average during the same time period was 60%, and the average for developing countries was 52%. Ethiopia's statistics show an alarmingly low access to sanitation both in absolute and comparative terms. It appears that what little food Ethiopians do have access to might be compromised by a lack of access to sanitarily store and prepare food. As with the previous indicator, in-kind and LRP aid would be in danger of contamination while being stored, processed, or prepared by exposure to human waste, a mode by which many ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 37


contagions (like the bacteria vibrio cholerae) are spread. In fact, according to the WHO, cases of cholera were reported in Ethiopia every year from 2004 to 2011, and the geographic distribution includes the sparsely-populated rural regions of the country, which could be an indicator that effective sanitation systems in rural areas are less prevalent (WHO, 2014). The use of cash assistance to ameliorate this problem, for example, by allowing households to invest in sanitation methods, seems like the best option for increasing utilization. However, do the rural areas have the resources to handle an increase in demand for sanitation goods? Kebede's (2006) argument about market capacity in rural areas returns. In addition, the creation of a strong, country-wide sewage and sanitation system is dependent on government investment in infrastructure. Ultimately, the three aid types cannot significantly impact this indicator, and Pantuliano's (2007) argument that international aid should be given in the form of development assistance is especially poignant. Unless the government invests in sanitation and public health, the population remains susceptible to disease and at risk for poor food utilization. Outcome Indicators. The outcome indicators for food utilization measure the impact that poor food utilization has had on the Ethiopian population. As food utilization also refers to the proper absorption of nutrients, most indicators will deal with population-wide nutrition deficiencies. Indicators are separated demographically: many refer to children under the age of five. This is a key group because growth and nutrition in this fragile period determines the health and fitness of a person once s/he reaches adulthood. Well-nourished children have healthier futures. Therefore, the health trend of children now sets the pace for adult health in the future. Another key demographic is pregnant women because their health during pregnancy heavily influences the health and wellbeing of children after birth. (The Percent of Adults Underweight ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 38


and Prevalence of Iodine Deficiency indicators are left out of the analysis due to no data recorded by the FAO in this country.) Due to the nature and scarcity of the data, world averages and developing country averages are not computed by the FAO for these outcome indicators, and therefore cannot be used for comparative purposes. The Percentage of Children under 5 years of Age Affected by Wasting measures the percentage of children under the age of five who are below -2 standard deviations of the median weight-for-height given by the WHO Child Growth Standards. Ethiopia's data from 2000 to 2011 indicates an average of 11.6% wasting children under five, with a high of 12.4% in 2000 and a low of 10.1% in 2011. These data points indicate a negative growth rate of -1.15% per year. The number of children who are severely underweight given their height is small compared to the other growth indicators and slowly declining. The Percentage of Children under 5 years of Age Who are Stunted measures the percent of children under the age of five who are below -2 standard deviations of the median height-forage established by the WHO Child Growth Standards. Ethiopia's average rate of stunted growth from 2000 to 2011 is 50.8% of the population under five, which reaches a peak of 57.4% in 2000 and bottoms out at 44.2% in 2011, which shows a strong negative growth rate of -6.6% per year. Around half of all children under five in Ethiopia are shorter than they should be at their given age; however, this indicator's is declining rapidly, which shows a significant improvement in the absorption of nutrients over time. The Percentage of Children under 5 years of Age Who are Underweight indicator measures the percent of children under the age of five who have are below -2 standard deviations from the median weight-for-age established by the WHO Child Growth Standards. Ethiopia ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 39


averages 35.3% underweight children under five during the 2000 to 2011 time period, reaching a peak in 2000 at 42.0% and a nadir of 29.2% in 2011, also showing a strong negative growth rate of -6.4% per year. Around a third of Ethiopian children are underweight for their age, according to this indicator; however, its negative trend indicates that nutrition is improving for young children, which is allowing them to grow at more healthy rates than before. Having a child population that is underweight, stunted, and wasting indicates widespread nutritional deficiencies which do not allow children to grow and develop at normal rates. Increasing the amount of food consumed by children is not the only way to tackle these problems. For example, enriched foods are those products that have additional vitamins and minerals added to increase their nutritional benefit to the consumer. Aid agencies can specifically target child recipients of aid and provide them with nutritionally-enriched food blends in the form of in-kind and LRP aid to ensure that they meet their daily nutritional needs. (The blended foods industry in Ethiopia is discussed in Walker and Wandschneider, 2005). Cash assistance can also be used to meet these nutritional needs; however, rural populations might not have access to enriched products with high nutritional content, which are sourced from the factories of corporations that specialize in food and not the agricultural sector itself, so distribution to rural areas might be scarce. In addition, the use of cash assistance inflates the domestic food prices, which may jeopardize the outcome indicators for children who are not recipients of food aid by decreasing their economic access to it. The Prevalence of Anemia Among Children under 5 Years of Age indicator measures the proportion of children under the age of five who have less than 110 grams of hemoglobin per liter of blood at sea level. The only data point that exists during the relevant timespan is in 2005, ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 40


when 53.5% of children under the age of five had anemia. Anemia, a condition in which a person does not have enough red blood cells in their bloodstream to be able to meet their physical needs, is one of the most significant indicators of iron deficiency. Low red blood cell counts indicate that not enough oxygen is flowing through the blood because there is not enough capacity to carry it, which can lead to fatigue and lethargy. According to the FAO database, anything over 40% of the population under five being anemic is evidence of a wide-spread public health problem. Ethiopia's surpassed the cut-off by 13.5% in 2005, indicating that the population suffers from severe iron deficiency. Iron deficiency leads to poorer health in the future as well as decreased productivity due to lack of oxygenation. Low productivity could lead to lower income, and less economic activity, which have a negative impact on development if multiplied. The Prevalence of Anemia Among Pregnant Women indicator refers to the proportion of pregnant women who have less than 110 grams of hemoglobin per liter of blood. Macro-data for this indicator only exists for the year 2005 in Ethiopia, when 30.60% of pregnant women were anemic. A woman's health during pregnancy is highly correlated to the health of the child after birth. The absence of nutrients in the body during pregnancy impede's the fetus's ability to grow and develop properly; therefore, it is incredibly important to monitor the health of pregnant women, as they are establishing the future health trends of the population. International in-kind aid and LRP aid can be used to address the high rates of anemia among the Ethiopian population. This goal can be achieved by increasing the percentage of ironrich foods distributed (e.g. spinach, lentils, beans, or iron-enriched cereals or food blends). Cash assistance can be provided to allow households to purchase their own iron-rich food, but is the population sufficiently educated to understand the implications of anemia or to know which of ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 41


their local foods are rich in iron? People residing in urban areas have access to more diverse food products due to stronger markets and more educational resources to inform themselves about the consequences of different types of malnutrition, but a large majority of the population lives in a rural environment, so it appears that directly providing the population with iron-rich foods is the better option. The Prevalence of Vitamin A Deficiency Among Children Under 5 Years of Age outcome indicator measures the proportion of the population under the age of five that has a retinol serum level that is equal or lower than 0.70 mol/l. There exist only two data points for this indicator in the FAO's database for Ethiopia during the relevant time period: 15% in 2000 and 51% in 2002. However, the FAO warns that due to sampling methods, these data are not necessarily representative of the national population and not fully comparable over time. Nevertheless, a limited analysis is better to gauge how things may stand in Ethiopia than omission of this indicator altogether. Vitamin A aids in many of the human body's most vital functions: vision, DNA replication, and tissue formation. Deficiency in this vitamin in children can lead to childhood blindness and higher rates of inflammation and infection in the population (due to its importance in the formation of tissue). According to the FAO database, any measure above 20% Vitamin A deficiency is a severe public health risk, and Ethiopia's was more than twice that in 2002, which shows that the need for this nutrient might be exorbitant. To tackle these outcome indicators and help the Ethiopian population consume more Vitamin A, aid agencies must increase their supply (both in-kind or LRP) of Vitamin A-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, or Vitamin A-enriched cereals. As discussed previously with anemia, cash assistance might be helpful in urban populations to combat this ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 42


vitamin deficiency, but it is not certain whether rural populations have access either to Vitamin A-rich foods themselves or information about them. Therefore, the direct supply of these goods from international, regional, or local sources to aid recipients might be the best option for increasing the absorption of this vitamin. Overall, the food utilization dimension is complicated and difficult to approach because of its broad nature. It was found through looking at determinant indicators that cash assistance would be the only option with the potential to increase the access to improved water sources or sanitation facilities, because it allows households to invest in tools and technologies (which indeed can only happen if they are available). However, this is ultimately a question of development and infrastructure, because governing bodies control water distribution and sewage systems. Finally, LRP and in-kind aid have the potential to best increase access to food, which improves food utilization in the sense that it allows aid recipients access to nutrients that were before absent in their diets (such as iron and Vitamin A). However, food utilization considers the storage, processing, and preparation of this food, which cannot be done without adequate access to water and sewer systems. Therefore, these food supplies (and ultimately the population) will always be in danger of contamination and disease unless the country's sanitation capacity increases. If food utilization can be improved in Ethiopia, the population will see an increase in nutrient absorption, a decrease the exposure to disease, and an increase the effectiveness of aid. Stability To be food secure, individuals must not only have physical and economic access to the available food supply and be able to utilize it, they must be able to do so consistently Therefore, this dimension's indicators measure the stability of availability, access, and utilization over time. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 43


The more unstable these factors are due to climatic, economic, and political volatility, the more susceptible a population is to food insecurity. Stability indicators are separated into two categories: vulnerability and shocks. All indicators and data points are drawn from the FAO's Food Security Indicators Database (FAO, 2013). Vulnerability. The following indicators measure a population's vulnerability to food insecurity based on its dependency on imports as well as capacity to cope with possible natural disasters. The higher the exposure to risk is, the more likely it is that a population will experience food insecurity. The first indicator of vulnerability is Cereal Import Dependency Ratio, which is found by using the formula: cereal imports/(cereal production+cereal imports-cereal exports), and it is calculated in three-year averages to avoid error. This indicator measures what percentage of a country's cereal supply is imported. The higher the percentage, the more dependent a country is on outside sources of cereal foods. From 2000 to 2009, Ethiopia averaged a 9.1% cereal import dependency ratio, which ranged from a high of 12.4% in the 2001-2003 period to a low of 5.9% in the 2004-2006 period. From 2000 to 2006, the indicator was experiencing a negative growth rate of -1.26% per year, indicating that Ethiopia's dependence on imported cereals was decreasing. However, from 2006 to 2009, this trend has reversed and is showing a positive 1.39% per year growth. Ethiopia's government has been actively working to increase the import of grains in order to stabilize food prices and make them more accessible to Ethiopians, but the fact that there are two distinct and opposing trends within one decade of data calls into question the stability of cereal imports (USDA, 2013). The world average for the same time period was 15.6%, and the developing country average was 15.5%. These values can be explained as ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 44


follows: the Ethiopian government has prohibited the export of grains to keep food prices from increasing, which means there is no negative factor on the denominator of the Cereal Import Dependency Ratio formula (USDA, 2013). However, other countries do engage in the export of grains and might be more connected to the world markets, which means that their value of the denominator is proportionally lower due to the subtraction of cereal exports. This could explain why the world and other developing countries seem to have (on average) a higher dependency ratio. The ban on the export of grain products also demonstrates why Ethiopia is a net food importer, because the flow of food in must be greater than the flow of food out. Cash assistance and local procurement seem to be the best solutions in decreasing the Cereal Import Dependency Ratio, because an increase in the demand for goods and increased profits for farmers will further stimulate Ethiopian agriculture and encourage growth and domestic production in the long run, especially since around 98% of cereals are produced by small landholder farmers in Ethiopia (USDA, 2013). However, the relevant discussion of the rural markets' ability to handle a surge in demand caused by cash assistance or a large purchase of local food by an agency returns. The concerns are similar to those found by Ferguson and Kepe (2011) in their study of Uganda: smallholder farmers fear the instability of LRP aid purchases by the WFP and often do not have the resources to invest in growing their business due to the weakness of their national financial structure. In addition, cash assistance would have an inflationary effect on food prices, which runs counter to the government's measures to cut food prices (e.g. by prohibiting exports). On the other hand, an increase in regionally procured and internationally sourced in-kind food aid increases the numerator of the Cereal Import Dependency Ratio, which increases the percentage overall and causes import dependency to rise. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 45


Therefore, all three of the aid methods' effectiveness can be questioned when there is such instability in the cereal market. The second indicator is Percentage of Arable Land Equipped for Irrigation, which is found by dividing irrigated land by the total amount of arable land in Ethiopia (values are reported in three year averages to decrease error). The purpose of this indicator is to measure a country's capacity to support its food crops if a natural disaster such as drought were to occur. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia averaged 2.4% irrigated land, which peaked at 2.9% in the 2000-2002 period, and consistently remained at a low of 2.1% from 2007 to 2011. The data show a small, but negative growth rate of -0.1012% per year. The world average during the same time period is 22.2%, and the developing country average is 29.3%. Ethiopia's percentage of irrigated land is alarmingly low, considering it is an agrarian economy. It depends almost completely on constant and plentiful rainfall to produce its agricultural goods. These data show high agricultural vulnerability because if rainfall is low in any given year (for example) and irrigation systems cannot bring water from other areas to maintain the growth of crops, the agricultural sector would be incapable of producing enough food to feed the population. As was the case with water access in the Food Utilization section, the improvement of this indicator is primarily determined by investment in the development of infrastructure, which would allow farmers to have access to more reliable water sources to irrigate their crops. However, the three aid types can help address some of the consequences of the irrigation situation as it stands. For instance, in-kind and regionally procured aid does not directly depend on the rainfall in Ethiopia, so if there exists a shortage in a given year, food can be imported from other countries to supplement the loss in domestic production. These two types of aid, therefore ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 46


can circumvent climatic volatility. On the other hand, the effectiveness of cash assistance and local procurement must be questioned in cases such as drought, when there is a lower capacity to respond to food demand. However, bulk purchases from farmers by aid agencies and donor governments can increase the profit that a given farm makes, which gives it the ability to invest in more irrigation and decrease its vulnerability. But given the low access to water sources discussed in the Food Utilization section, is this feasible or reasonable? It may be if steps are taken to improve the national water infrastructure. The last indicator in the vulnerability section of stability is Value of Food Imports in Total Merchandise Exports, which is the total amount of food imports divided by total merchandise exports, expressed as a percentage calculated in three-year averages to avoid error. This indicator measures a country's ability to pay for food imports given its foreign exchange reserves. From 2000 to 2010, Ethiopia's average Value of Food Imports in Total Merchandise Exports was 50%, reaching a high of 78% in the 2001-2003 period, and a low of 27% in the 2004-2006 period. The data fluctuated greatly during the whole time span, the decade started with a large, negative growth rate of -9.9% per year from the 2000-2002 period to the 2004-2006 period, while ending with a large, positive growth rate of 9.8% per year from the 2004-2006 period to the 2008-2010 period. The world average from 2000 to 2010 was 5%, as was the average for the other developing countries. As long as the indicator remains below 100%, a country should have the foreign exchange reserves to pay for their food imports; however, Ethiopia's ratio is 10 times greater than the rest of the world and the other developing countries, indicating a higher dependency on imported food (which is confirmed by its status as a net food importing country). ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 47


The use of in-kind food aid from an international source as well as the regional procurement of aid from neighboring countries would lead to a higher value of Food Imports in Total Merchandise Exports because it increases the numerator value in the formula. However, the rise of imports due to these two methods would also have deflationary effects on the prices of foods because of a positive shift in the supply curve, making food more accessible to the population. Is more dependency acceptable if it makes food more accessible? On the other hand, given the need to import food due to an inability to produce enough to feed the population domestically, cash assistance and local procurement would not help augment this indicator because it relates to the stability of food availability. As was discussed in the Food Availability section, cash assistance and local procurement cannot improve food availability in the short run because they cannot increase the national food supply; however, they can, through investment, increase food supply in the long run. Shocks. The following indicators demonstrate how prone Ethiopia is to shocks that will directly impact food security by altering prices, the government, supply, or production, among other factors. The higher the volatility in these indicators, the higher susceptibility to food insecurity is in a given country. The first shock indicator is the Index of Political Stability and Absence of Violence, which is measured on a scale of approximately -2.5 (very unstable) to 2.5 (very stable). This indicator demonstrates how likely an overthrow or destabilization of the government by violent or unconstitutional means is according to the perceptions of the public, the private sector, NGOs, and the public sector. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia had an average index measure of -1.56, which ranged from a low of -1.78 in 2006 to a high of -1.01 in 2000. Given the nature of the index, ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 48


world and developing country averages are not computed for the database. Two trends can be seen in the Ethiopian values, however. From 2000 to 2007, the index saw the index values drop at approximately -0.12 points per year until the minimum point was reached in 2006, and the values started slowly increasing at a rate of 0.046 points per year from 2007 to 2011. This is promising, as it shows that public perception of political stability is increasing over time. However, Ethiopia's political stability is not only consistently in the negative range of the index, but its values are very low, indicating great political instability and the presence of violence. Political stability is important because it affects the stability of the economy. While none of the three aid methods being analyzed can impact this indicator, the indicator can show why the different aid types may be ineffective. Political instability discourages investment and trade with the country in question, which impacts the food market as well as the value of the national currency. Furthermore, active conflicts and violence discourage producers and consumers from engaging in business activity out of fear. Therefore, the amount of food security that cash assistance or local procurement can buy is not predictable if the government is experiencing instability and violence and negatively impacting the economy. On the other hand, for the distribution of regionally-sourced LRP aid and in-kind aid, the cooperation of the government is needed to not only get the food aid shipments inside the country, but to also distribute it to different regions. In Ethiopia specifically, the government is friendly to aid agencies and donor governments seeking to help its population, so donors do not face a big challenge in this respect. Therefore, in-kind or regionally procured aid has a better chance of providing a dependable supply of food to hungry populations that is independent of the instability of economics caused by the instability of government. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 49


The second indicator is the Domestic Food Price Volatility Index, which measures the variation in the Domestic Food Price Index among countries over time. As defined in the database, any year's index value is the standard deviation of the deviations from the trend over the previous five years. From 2000 to 2013, Ethiopia average value was 70.2, varying from a low of 24.9 in 2001 and reaching a high of 100.6 in 2013, which indicates a positive growth of 4.046 points per year. The world average for the same time span was 11.8, and the developing countries' average was 19.7. Food prices in Ethiopia are significantly more volatile than food prices in rest of the world and even other developing countries, which results in their statistical outlier status. Therefore, the food stability dimension in Ethiopia is specifically heavily disadvantaged by price fluctuations. Such a lack of stability in food prices means that the amount of food a household can purchase with a constant income level will vary significantly across time. The higher the food prices rise, the fewer the goods a household can buy, which jeopardizes the ability of individuals to maintain adequate daily nutrition levels. Given the high price volatility, cash assistance and local procurement are risky because the prices of food are unstable. One cannot guarantee that a fixed cash stipend will consistently be able to purchase enough food to meet the nutritional needs of a household. Local procurement encounters the same challenge because a pledge of a fixed dollar amount from a donor will buy different amounts of goods depending on the time of purchase. On the other hand, in-kind food aid gives the donor direct control over the amount of food each recipient gets, as it is sourced in more economically stable donor countries, where food prices are relatively constant and predictable. Regional procurement of food from neighbors with less price volatility is a better alternative to cash assistance or local procurement if international in-kind aid is not feasible. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 50


Both in-kind aid and regionally procured aid cause a rightward shift of the food supply function, which leads to a decrease in food prices and an increase in output, when applied at regular intervals, these methods can be used to help stabilize food prices at a lower level. The third shock indicator is Per Capita Food Production Variability, which is defined by the FAO in the database as the country's Net Food PIN (food production in terms of constant 2004-2006 1000 International $) divided by the population (as measured by the UN in 2010). The index values given are standard deviations of the deviations from the trend over the previous five years. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia's index value averaged at 3, which varied from a high of 4.2 in 2000 and a low of 1.3 in 2007. Instability is also seen in the distribution of the index values over time because from 2000 to 2007, there was a negative growth trend of -0.354 per year, but after reaching its minimum point in 2007, the index values began growing at a slow, but positive, rate of 0.175 per year. The average index value for the world during the same time period was 2.1, and the average index value for developing countries was 1.9. Per capita food production in Ethiopia has varied a lot more over time than it has in other countries; however, this variability is not as substantial as the variation in domestic food prices seen previously. The impact that the three aid types can have on this indicator is similar to the discussion of the Average Value of Food Production indicator in the Food Availability section. However, the goal in this dimension is to maintain stability of investment as opposed to just increasing its value. Cash assistance (provided in consistent stipends) gives households the freedom to invest their money in the production of food. However, given that those households which are more likely to invest in food production live in rural areas, the ability of rural markets to handle the increase in demand with small supply is called into question. LRP can also benefit the stability of ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 51


food production if it can be done in predictable intervals. By purchasing aid inside Ethiopia, agencies are giving farmers higher profits, which encourages investment in production, which might even spur lower costs in the future due to economies of scale. However, Ferguson and Kepe (2011) warn that LRP is carried out in an inconsistent manner, which leads to fluctuations in demand to smallholder farmers. In-kind food aid can also have a positive impact on food production if the supplementation of food to a household's diet gives the household an incentive to invest money that would have been otherwise spent on food for agricultural investment instead. But the effect is ambiguous, as in-kind aid can also provide a disincentive to invest in agricultural production by giving households a steady stream of food. No matter which aid method is used, the important thing to consider in relation to this indicator is its ability to provide consistency, which would decrease the variability seen. The final shock indicator is Per Capita Food Supply Variability, the yearly values of which are also standard deviations of the deviations from the previous five years' trend. This indicator is computed by looking at the food supply in terms of kilocalories per person per day and its variation in Ethiopia over time. From 2000 to 2010, Ethiopia had an average index value of 19, ranging a high of 30 in 2008 and 2009 to a low of 4 in 2004. The data show an overall growth of the indicator at 1.99 per year, which means that the variability in food supply is increasing over time, and therefore negatively impacting the food stability dimension of food security. The average index value for the whole world during the same time span was 7, and the developing countries had an average index value of 8. These data points demonstrate that an Ethiopian's average daily food supply varies significantly more over time than the food supply of ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 52


an individual in other developing countries or the world as a whole. Unstable food supply means that the population is in jeopardy of being undernourished. This indicator essentially measures variability of the food supply over time. Therefore to lower the value of this indicator (i.e. to make the food supply more stable), one must seek aid methods that not only increase the food supply, but can maintain a steady food supply over time. In the Food Availability section, it was found that the best way to increase the food supply in a country is either through internationally-sourced in-kind food shipments or through regionally procured aid shipments, because only these can increase the supply of food in a country in the short run, whereas cash assistance and local procurement may help as well, but in the long-run through increased investment. Therefore, to decrease variability in the food supply (and as a result increase the stability of the food supply), in-kind or regionally procured aid must be given to households in consistent shipments that allow them to maintain a steady level of consumption. To achieve this, food security must be monitored more carefully and early-warning systems must become more sensitive so that the pattern of aid shifts away from crisis-then-response and to a more preventative system that intervenes before a crisis happens at all. Such a reform would allow Ethiopians to maintain a more consistent supply of food per capita over time. Overall, an analysis of the stability indicators of food security has shown that Ethiopia has an unstable political climate, unstable food prices, unstable agricultural production, and unstable food supply, as well as a low ability to cope with natural disasters and a high dependency on imported foods. The aid type that had the most positive impact on these indicators was in-kind aid, which can be used to circumvent natural disasters (such as drought) that diminish the food supply, to avoid risk in a politically unstable economy, to decrease and ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 53


stabilize domestic food prices, and to decrease the variability of food supply and possibly food production (depending on the behavior households). However, in-kind aid does have negative impacts on the indicators as well: it causes increased dependency on food imports. Regionally procured aid has similar effects on the indicators as in-kind aid, but given existing instability in Ethiopia's neighboring countries, might not be as dependable as food sourced from international donors with more economic and political stability and capacity. Locally procured aid, however, is similar to cash assistance in the sense that both methods are less reliable when domestic food prices and the political climate are volatile, both cannot significantly increase the domestic food supply in the short run, and both might not be feasible in rural areas where there is not enough supply to meet their associated rise in demand. However, cash assistance can decrease import dependency in the long run by spurring investment, which improves food stability in Ethiopia by strengthening domestic production. IV. Conclusions Analyzing the impact that in-kind food aid, LRP aid, and cash assistance have on the indicators that measure each dimension of food security has allowed for a more nuanced understanding of how these different aid methods can help or hinder food security in Ethiopia. Lack of food availability is not a major cause of food security in Ethiopia today. The dietary energy supply in Ethiopia is large enough to provide every person in the country with at least their minimum daily energy requirements, and has been since 2010. Additionally, there has been a large enough protein supply in Ethiopia to meet the daily needs of the whole population since 2004. However, meeting daily minimums is not ideal for the health and nutritional status of the population, because it leaves individuals vulnerable to slipping below the minimum. To ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 54


increase the food supply in the short run, in-kind aid and LRP aid from regional sources increase the amount of food in the country. Cash assistance and LRP from local sources may also help augment the food supply; however, this might only occur in the long run through increased investment. Furthermore, the proposed aid coming into the country has the ability to change the composition of the food supply and shift it to meet the specific nutritional needs of a population (for example, by increasing the share of protein-rich foods). The low level of food production investment in Ethiopia shows that the food production sector is small relative to other countries, and the size of this sector ultimately limits the capacity of domestic food production. If the sector cannot grow to meet domestic needs, there is, once more a need for in-kind imports of food aid to feed the population. Ultimately, H1, which stated that "under conditions of food insecurity caused by lack of food availability, in-kind food aid and LRP aid will best improve the food security of the population," is supported by the Ethiopian data. Inadequate food access greatly contributes to food insecurity in Ethiopia, mainly due to low infrastructure investment, which impedes individuals' physical access to food, and high food prices, which restricts individuals' economic access to food. The Ethiopian government has taken measures to combat rising food prices (by restricting exports and encouraging imports, for example), but has lacked the funds to properly invest in infrastructure, which is the root of the distribution problem in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia's case, extremely low road density, few paved roads, and no fully-functioning railroads limit the transportation options individuals, firms, and NGOs have throughout the country. The low physical access to food negatively impacts the effectiveness of aid because it makes distribution of in-kind and LRP aid difficult, and it limits the ability of firms and farmers to bring their goods to market, and therefore may render the use ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 55


of cash assistance ineffective, especially in remote rural areas. Economic access, however, is positively impacted by in-kind and regionally-sourced LRP aid because these methods increase the food supply, which drives down food prices, making food more attainable for the poorest individuals. Cash assistance, on the other hand, increases the demand for food, which drives up the price of food, negatively affecting the entire population. In-kind food aid and LRP can both positively impact the outcome indicators of food access because they have the ability to increase the calories consumed by individuals, so these methods seem to be the most adept at combatting low food access in Ethiopia, aside from increased development of infrastructure. Overall, H2, which stated that "under conditions of food insecurity caused by lack of food access, cash assistance will best improve the food security of the population," is not supported by the analysis of the access indicators, which seem to favor in-kind food aid and regionally-sourced LRP aid for their enhancement of economic access to food. The food utilization dimension also contributes to food insecurity in Ethiopia. Again, the theme of low government investment in infrastructure standing in the way of achieving population-wide food security continues, as the two determinant indicators of food utilization are access to improved water sources and access to sanitation facilities, both of which depend largely on public investment. It was theorized that cash assistance might help ameliorate these indicators on a household level because it would allow individuals to invest in technologies that would improve their utilization, such as with the creation of rainwater collection systems or the building of wells. Until access can be provided to better water sources and sanitation facilities, whatever food supply exists is in danger of becoming contaminated and spreading sickness among the population. With reference to the outcome indicators of food utilization, it was reasoned that all ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 56


three aid types can increase the indicators, but in-kind food aid and LRP would benefit the population the most because they help combat nutritional deficiencies by increasing access to foods for aid recipients on one hand and lowering the prices of food for non-recipients on the other, which allows them to purchase more food to meet their nutritional needs. Cash assistance would benefit the recipients' nutritional intake, but would have inflationary effects on the food prices, which, in turn, would cause non-recipients of aid to suffer. Ultimately, H3, which stated that "under conditions of food insecurity caused by poor food utilization, cash assistance and LRP will best improve the food security of the population," is supported by the data, because cash assistance can help improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities, while LRP can help improve the health and nutrition outcomes of the population. This hypothesis, however, did not credit in-kind aid, which can also help improve nutrition. Lastly, the stability dimension of food security is a great concern in Ethiopia, because the population is very vulnerable to political, economic, and climatic volatility. In-kind aid allows Ethiopia to maintain a steady supply of food even if natural disasters strike. It increases the food supply and decrease its variability if disbursed evenly; and it is also the best option in the case of political instability and frequent domestic food price fluctuations (which are present in Ethiopia), because it can guarantee a set amount of food aid for all recipients in a way that a fixed amount of cash (either in cash assistance stipends or locally-sourced LRP) cannot, when the value of goods changes rapidly and business activity suffers from the presence of conflict. In-kind aid increases the dependence of Ethiopia on food imports, however, which can decrease its ability to overcome food security in the long run by, in a sense, trapping it. However, it is a method certain to help overcome food supply shortages and fill the nutrition gap in the short run. The most ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 57


important challenge to consider relating to this dimension is consistency: to increase stability in Ethiopia, food aid, in any of its forms, has to be distributed in predictable increments that help maintain a constant level of food availability, access, and utilization. Earlier detection and intervention before food insecurity becomes a crisis is necessary to decrease these fluctuations. H4, which hypothesized that "under conditions of food insecurity caused by price and supply instability, in-kind food aid will best improve the food security of the population," is supported by the analysis of the indicators. However, LRP from regional sources has the same impact on the indicators as in-kind aid, which means it can help improve the stability dimension as well. This thesis has confirmed that in-kind aid seems to be the overall best choice of food aid, as it helps improve food availability, economic access to food, and the outcome indicators of food utilization, but also decreases vulnerability to political, economic, and climatic shocks. In Ethiopia specifically, this thesis has called into question to ability of cash assistance to help fight food insecurity among rural inhabitants (which, as established in the previous section, account for over 82% of the population), because not only are rural markets small and possibly not capable of handling great increases in demand brought about by cash assistance, but cash assistance also has inflationary effects on food prices, which are already very high in Ethiopia to begin with. It was also found that LRP aid from regional sources have similar effects on food security indicators as international in-kind aid, while locally-sourced LRP aid changes indicators more like cash assistance, which suggests that this category of aid might be better analyzed if it was divided into two categories accordingly. Finally, another (albeit unintentional) observation made while analyzing the food security indicators, which supports Pantuliano's (2007) conclusions, is that many of the food security problems (especially in the access and utilization ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 58


dimensions), at their root, are due to poor development and weak infrastructure. The three aid types analyzed in this thesis can help mitigate the negative impacts of low development on the Ethiopian population (by helping fill nutrition gaps in the short run and lowering prices), however, until the underlying causes of the food insecurity themselves are addressed, Ethiopia will continue to depend on food aid to feed its population. Development aid to build roads, railroads, sewers, and water supply networks is necessary to ensure long-term food security. This study contributes to the existing food aid literature by comparing the three major types of food aid in the same paper, whereas most studies compare only two or evaluate one indepth. The inclusion of the three aid types provides a more robust understanding of the costs and benefits of each type of aid by measuring its impact on each of the food security indicators. By knowing how each aid method impacts all dimensions of food security, one is less likely to be surprised by any unforeseen consequences of aid implementation. Furthermore, this study has evaluated each dimension of food security separately in order to first identify the causes of food insecurity in Ethiopia, which allows one to pinpoint the best means to ameliorate them. Food security is not "one-size-fits-all," and each dimension of food security is affected differently by each type of food aid. If a thorough understanding of the relationships between each indicator (which measures food security) and each aid type can be established, the food aid community can create food aid packages for countries which meet their specific needs and more effectively solve their food security crises. If not limited by time and funding, fieldwork in Ethiopia would have provided a more nuanced understanding of the use of aid throughout the country. For example, region-specific analyses of infrastructure and markets are necessary to ascertain the effectiveness of the different ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 59


aid types in the various districts of Ethiopia (which may all have varying levels of food availability, food access, food utilization, and stability). Data gathered at the local level would be more helpful at capturing regional variation within Ethiopia than the macro-level approach taken in this study. In addition, interviews with government officials, farmers, aid recipients, and NGO workers would have added a qualitative element to the study that cannot be captured by simply studying economic data. The perception and perspectives of the public are invaluable, because the people know better than any intervening agency what challenges they face and how to best overcome them. Furthermore, indicators not specifically laid out by the FAO, IFAD, and WFP in The State of Food Insecurity in the World but still relevant to measuring and improving food security, could have also been analyzed to gain a greater understanding of what variables directly impact the four dimensions of food security, but they were left out due to the scope of the study as well as space and time constraints. The questions raised throughout the study about the poor infrastructure in Ethiopia were especially poignant and relevant when seeking to provide a long-term solution to food insecurity. Therefore, one question for future study is how low development specifically contributes to food insecurity in the different districts of Ethiopia, as well as how would a shift from short-term food aid to development aid affect food security within the country in the short term and in the long term. Ultimately, by answering these questions, the international community can come closer to helping free Ethiopia of aid dependency and giving it the resources to ensure stable, lasting food security for its population. ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY 60


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