Significant parts of Ethiopia are characterized by persistent food insecurity. While droughts and other disasters (such as flood) are significant triggers, more important are the factors which create and/or increase vulnerability to these shocks and which have undermined livelihoods. These factors include land degradation, limited household assets, low levels of farm technology, lack of employment opportunities and population pressure. Though the Ethiopian government emphasizes agricultural development through various interventions, the limited capacity of the government coupled with the magnitude of the food insecurity situation makes progress difficult.
In addition, climate change threatens Ethiopia’s population. A recent mapping of vulnerability and poverty in Africa identified Ethiopia as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change given its low adaptive capacity. The limited economic, institutional, and logistical capacity to mitigate and to adapt to climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of millions of people. A large part of the country is arid or semi-arid and is highly prone to desertification and drought. The country’s highland ecosystem is also becoming fragile and vulnerable, which is already under stress due to population pressure and land degradation. The impact ranges from recurrent drought and loss of biodiversity of rangeland, and of soil nutrients to catastrophic flood and declining livestock and food production.