Source : FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission: proposed travel itinerary
FAO teams: 9.11-22.11.1995
WFP teams: 16.11-24.11.95
"CAN ETHIOPIA FEED ITSELF?
The Stark Realities of the Population-Food Equation" (1) The size of population and its anticipated growth is the main factor determining future food consumption requirements. They are also affected by the growth in per capita incomes and the targets for improving the food intake per person. Population thus is a critical factor in determining the direction of agricultural development.
I shall deal with two issues of the Population-Food equation; first , the food requirements (rather than the demand aspects proper) of the rapidly increasing Ethiopian population and second, the supply side, i.e. the degree to which the agricultural sector will be to meet the demand and what are the major measures involved.
In six years, by the year 2,000, Ethiopia's population, currently about 54.94 million, is projected to reach 66.76 million, an increase by almost 12 million people.
Looking 15 years ahead, to 22010, the Central Statistical Authority projects a median population of almost 95 million people, even assuming some decline in fertility. By the year 2,020, the population in expected to reach 130 million.
Even under the low variant, the population is projected to reach
118.8 million (or 8.5 percent less) compared with 136.7 million under the
Table 1: Projected Rural and Urban Population in Ethiopia (medium variant) ('000)
Source: The 1984 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Analytical Report at National Level. Addis Ababa, December 1991.
As a result of rapid urbanization, the share of the urban population
will increase from currently 15 percent to 20.1 percent over the next ten
years (2005) to almost 30 percent by the year 2,020. In absolute figures,
the urban population will almost double by 2005 and multiply by a factor
of 4.6 times by 2010. In other words, the projections envisage that the
urban sector will have to absorb some 7.73 million additional people by
2005 and 29.64 million by the year 2020. This will create tremendous challenges
in terms of employment and provision of social services(i.e. housing, health,
The growth of the rural population will be slower. Still, in ten years time, by 2005, there will be 63.4 million people in rural areas, an increase by 16.7 million people. Their share of the total population will still be 80 percent; by 2020, the rural population will have doubled; however, their share will fall to 70.8 percent.
What are the possibilities for the agricultural sector to respond to the challenge
For the base year 1992/93, the FAO/WFP Crop and Food supply Assessment
Mission to Ethiopia has used the established "status quo" per capita consumption
rate of 157 kg per year comprising cereals and pulses as well as the cereal
equivalent of Enset and root crops as well as of milk and meat. together
with an additional 6kg/person/year to reflect the consumption of oil seeds,
eggs fish as well as fruit and vegetables, we are using a total food intake
of 163kg per head of the Ethiopian population or 446.6 gram/person/day.
On the basis of the calorie content of the various food categories,
established by the Ethiopian Nutrition Institute, this represents a daily
calorie intake of 1,518 per person. This is of course, well below the medically
recommended minimum daily intake of 2,100 calories (72.3 percent) and almost
34 percent below the 2,300 calories/person/day representing staple food
self-sufficiency. The current low calorie intake reflects the dramatic
magnitude of malnutrition still existing in Ethiopia, particularly among
the vulnerable groups.
The transitional government, as part of the National Programme for food Production, Food Security and Nutrition covering the five-year period 1993/94-1997/98, has highly placed the attainment of an increased food intake per person ate center of its agricultural development strategy. It has stipulated that within the next five years, the average per capita calorie food intake of the rapidly increasing population should increase to 2,000 cal/day, 90 percent of which or 1,800 cal/day to be provided from domestic production.
The target represents a formidable challenge to Ethiopia's ability to "feed itself" or rather reduce its dependence on food aid.
The challenge is three-fold:
First, with an average population growth rate of 3.28 percentr during 1995-2000 projected to increase to 3.47 during 2000-2005, the Ethiopian population will grow by almost two million people annually until the year 2000 and by 2.5 million people per year during 2000-2005. This alone requires an annual increase in gross cereal and pulses production by 320,000 tons during the next six years only to maintain current unacceptable low consumption patterns; during 2000-2005, the annual increment would be in the order of 400,000 tons.
Second, a major effort is required to gradually eliminate the "structural deficit" estimated to range from 0.5 to one million tons of cereals per year. The latter reflects the lack of success during the Eighties and early Nineties in pushing production levels beyond output levels attained during the pre-drought years of 1980/81 to 1983/84 to meet the basic food needs of the more than 20 million additional people since 1980.
Third, to produce the additional quantities of food required if the TGE target aiming at a marked improvement of the nutritional status to 1,800 cal/person/day from domestic production is to be attained.
FAO has tried to quantity the food requirements of the Ethiopian
population on the basis of the Government target, as can be seen from the
Summary Table below:
Table 2: Assumption for Growth of Food and Calorie Intake
|Year||Total Intake||Cereal and pulses|
This analysis extends the target date for attaining the 1.800 cal/person/day goal to the year 2,000 and sets the targets for reaching a calorie intake of 2,000 and 2,200 cal/day by 2005 and 2010 respectively. the former date could become the final year of a 10 year period to be used as the time-frame of a Ten-year perspective plan for the agricultural sector.
With the FAO/WFP Food Supply assessments focusing on cereals and
pulses (as the principle commodities determining food aid requirements)
the following analysis refers to these two crops only, which alone represent
82.8 percent of the total food intake. It is assumed that the production
of the other food categories (particularly enset, roots and livestock products)
would grow at a similar rate.
Table 3 : Net Grain Requirements and Required Gross Production to Meet Growth Targets for Increased Calory Intake.
|Year||Net Grain Requirements('000 tons)||Crop Year||Required Gross Production ('000 tons)||Deductions from Gross Production|
The above calculation assumes that the post-harvest losses, at the current estimated rate of 12 percent of gross production (translating into almost oone million tons of grain lost after it has been produced) be reduced over time. To introduce an effective programme will take a number of years and it is assumed that losses start to fall to ten percent (or by 16.7 percent) by the year 2000 and to nine and eight percent respectively by 2005 and 2010.
Seed requirements appear t have been under-estimated, as they represent an average of 5.0-5.5 percent of a given year's crop to be retained for planting the following year. However, their share in relation to the increased overall yield levels is expected to fall from 5.0 to 4.0 percet bythe year 2000, when estimated seed requirements are likely to reach 500,000 tons.
On the basis of the current cereal and pulses consumtion at 135kg/head year, Ethiopia's net cereal/pulses requirements would have to increase by aprox. 25 percent to 9.0 million tons by the end of the century, requiring a gross production in the order of 10.5 million tons(the higher figure taking into account post-harvest losses, seed requuirements and non-food uses). By 2010, requirements woulb be in the order of 12.7 million tons net and 14.5 million tons gross.
Inorder to meet the target of 1.800 cal/person/day postulated by Government would require augumenting gross production to 12.4 million tons(or by 43.6 percent) by the year 2,000. To meet a calory intake of 2,000 cal/persoon/day by 2005 would require a gross production of 16.2 million tons; almost double current output. The target of 2,200 cal/person/day necessitates a gross output of almost 21 million tons by the year 2010, requiring multiplying current production by a factor of 2.4 times.
What are the chances for the agricultural sector to meet these rapidly increasing food requirements?
The task ahead is immense and will need determined and sustained efforts by Government and the Donor community on a broad front.
An important factor determining future grain production is the potential for raising average levels of cereal yields; an increase by fifty percent above present levels is bellieved to be feasible in the long-term.
A further factor is the potential for the expansion of the area under rained cultivation. With the current crop area estimated to range from six to seven million hectares and an additional 15 mmillion ha required to support drought animals and provide fuelwood, the area actually utilisied amounts to some 22 million ha.
The Government's Master Land Use Plan(MLUP) estimates the area of arable land (defined as land with a dependable growing period in excess of 90 days and with favourable soil charactersics) as equivalent to 55 million ha. In other words, the potential would appear to exist to more than double the current rainfed area.
The combined effect of area expansion and increased productivity would allow tripling the volume of cereal crop production in this country and to meet the long-term requirements of the population projected for 2015 (when Ethiopia is expected to have approx. 110 million people).
The model appllied in the FAO analysis is somewhat cautious in relation to area expansion. It is assumed that area under cereals and pulses will increase by 2.0 percent per year, somewhat lower than the projected growhth of the rural population. In many Highland areas there is virtually no longer any un-cultivated land remaining; the exploitation of the frontier lands in the South-West and Southern parts of the country by peasant farmers would involve sizeable dis-location which would not apear to be feasible under the TGE's policyy of decentrallisation. Increasing the crop area would also require major investments in land clearing and large numbers of additional oxen for cultivation, when one third of Ethiopian farmerns do not even own single oxen.
The modes still assumes an expansion of the current cereal area by
almost one million hcetares by the year 2000 and a further increase by
1.67 million ha ten years later, resulting in an overall increase of 2.66
million ha for cereals alone.
Table 4: Apparent Potential for Area Expansion
|Feed & Fuelwood
|Projected for 2010||9.3||21.7||31.0|
The assumtions for an increase in average yields are much higher. Current average yields (ranging from 870 kg/ha for Teff to 1,640 kg/ha for maize) are extremely low, particularly when compared with levels in neighbouring African countries. The model assumes that average cereal yields will grow by 3.75 percent annually to reach 15.4 quintals (1.544 kg/ha) by the year 2000; this would mean raising average yields by almost 30 percent within seven years. With a somewhat reduced growth rate of 3.6 percent per annum, average cereals yields should reach 18 quintals (1,800 kg/ha) by 2005. These targets necessitate considerable increases in the use of external ionputs(i.e. improved seeds and fertiliser), adequate land preparation, appropriate weeding and other husbandry measures. On the basis of one ton of chemmical fertilizers resulting in an incrementa production of five tons of cereals, the increased grain and pulses ooutput of 3.87 million tons would require the application of an additional 775,000 tons of fertilizers by the end of the major improvements are also required in the availability of draught power and farm equipment, the production of, and farmers' ac ess to, improved varities of seeds, the selective use of pesticides in the context of Improved Pest Management and, finally the expansion of small-scale irrigation to assure stability of yield levels in periods of water stress and, in same cases, double cropping.
The desirable target of a sustained increase in agricultural productio
by 5.82 percent annually until the year 2000 would result in a gross production
of cereals and pulses of 11.8 million tons, an increase by 48.7 percent,
as shown in Table 5. By 2010, gross production would attatin 20.3 million
tons, more than two and a half times present output.
|Crop Year||Area ('000 ha) 1||Yield (kg/ha) 2||Gross Production ('000 tons)||Net Availability ('000 tons) 3|
The high-growth alternative is contrasted with the implications of
a lower growth alternative of five percent per annum as shown in Table
Table 6: Projected Gross Cereal Production - Lower Alternative
|Crop Year||Area ('000 ha) 1||Yield (kd/ha) 2||Gross Production ('000 tons)||Net Availability ('000 tons) 3|
The next question is whether the assumed alternative growth targets
of gross grain production and the resulting net availability of cereals
and pulses would be sufficient to meet the consumption requirements in
line with the Government targets for 1997/98 extended to the year 2,000
for the purposes of this analysis. A tentative response can be obtained
from the following Table :
Table 7: Net Requirements to meet Gap between Required and Feasible Net Grain Availability on basis of high and lower growth assumtion
('ooo tons) 2
('000 tons) 3
|Net Import Req.
|% of Net Requirements
The above clearly shows clearly why the higher growth target, still considered feasible, must be attained at all cost. The lower growth assumpion would maintain annual grain at an un-acceptable level of almost ten percent of overall requirements and result in imports of one million tons by 2000 to increase to over 2.2 million tons ten years later. On the other hand, even the bold assumtion of a 5.8 percent growth of grain production in Ethiopia over the next 17 years will not eliminate the country's net import requirements which will remain in the range of 600,000-650,000 tons in any one year, excluding, of course, the occurrence of another natural disaster which would require additional food aid.
However, in line with the ocncept of "enhanced food security " replacing the notion of "food-self-sufficiency", import requirements falling from 8.0 percent to 3.3 percent of overall requirements to achieve a greatly improved nutritional intake, would appear to be acceptable, provided major efforts are undertaken to promote industrial and agricultural exports to finance the remaining gap between domestic production and food requirements.
With Government's declared intention to promote commercial agriculture, in addition to its riority on peasant agriculture, it would appear feasible that a large part of the remaining deficit could be produced by private farmers beginning the mid-nineties. It is encouraging to know that the need to close or at least narrow the gap between food requirements and domestic supply is at the center of the Transitional Governments's development policy concerns and there are encouraging signs ofprogress in the areas of incentives, inputs, institutions and infrastructure, the four "I"s of agricultural development as postulated by FAO many years ago.
The new economic policy pays special attention to the peasant sector, accepting the need for security of land tenure and for market mechanism as essential factors in realising the rehabilitation and development of the agricultural sector. Major effprts are imderwau tp secire the provision of agricultural inputs, most importantly improved seeds and fertilisers; in re-structuring the agricultural sector to meet the needs of grassroots-level and participatoru developing and in improving rural infra-structure. We are confident that, with the assistance of the international donor community, Ethiopia will succeed in moving towards sustained economic growth and the well-being of its population.
1. Based on presentation to Workshhop on "Integrating Population and Development Planning", held in Addis Ababa from 5-7 May, 1994.