Food Security

The food security situation in Ethiopia is currently severe, with the country facing some of the worst levels of food insecurity globally. This crisis is driven by prolonged drought, ongoing insecurity, and numerous other challenges including displacement due to conflict, floods, and disease outbreaks.

Current situation

The drought has resulted in failed crops and livestock deaths across the country, severely impacting both crop and livestock-dependent livelihoods. Central and eastern Ethiopia, as well as southern and southeastern pastoral areas, are expected to face widespread Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, with the potential for more extreme outcomes associated with high levels of acute malnutrition and hunger-related mortality. The Tigray region is also in a severe situation, largely due to insecurity that makes seasonal labor migration and agricultural activities difficult. Food prices are exceptionally high, and food assistance needs are at record-breaking levels, with current levels of aid falling far below the scale of need.

In addition to the food crisis, Ethiopia is dealing with other humanitarian issues. Displacement due to conflict and excessive rains have affected tens of thousands of people. There have also been outbreaks of Dengue Fever and cholera, further exacerbating the situation. The country’s 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan is significantly underfunded, receiving only about 22% of the required funding as of May 15, 2023.

Given the severity of the situation, it’s crucial to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) related to the food safety situation in Ethiopia and provide recommendations.

SWOT Analysis


  • Ethiopia has a diverse agricultural sector with both crop and livestock farming.
  • Despite ongoing challenges, some farming and pastoral activities continue.


  • The country is experiencing a severe drought, leading to failed crops and livestock deaths.
  • Ongoing insecurity, particularly in the Tigray region, is hindering agricultural activities and labor migration.
  • There are high food prices and record-breaking food assistance needs.
  • The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan is significantly underfunded.


  • The rainy seasons provide opportunities for farming in highland areas and pastoral activities in lowland areas.
  • There is potential to improve the process of identifying and registering beneficiaries for food aid.


  • The potential for more extreme outcomes associated with high levels of acute malnutrition and hunger-related mortality is a significant concern.
  • Displacement due to conflict and excessive rains is disrupting livelihoods.
  • Outbreaks of Dengue Fever and cholera are further exacerbating the situation.



  1. Increase funding for the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan: This is vital to meeting the current food assistance needs and addressing other humanitarian issues.
  2. Strengthen controls on food aid distribution: There have been reports of food diversion in Tigray, leading to a temporary pause in food aid in the region. An investigation is underway, and it’s crucial to ensure that food aid reaches those most in need efficiently and effectively.
  3. Invest in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies: Given the impact of the drought and floods on food security, it’s important to invest in measures to reduce the risk and impact of such disasters.

Industry stakeholders:

  1. Support capacity building with smallholders: Provide training and resources to help smallholders improve their agricultural practices and adapt to climate change.
  2. Invest in supply chain resilience: Strengthen supply chains to ensure that food can reach markets, even in times of crisis.
  3. Engage in responsible investment: Investments should be made in a way that respects the rights and livelihoods of local communities.

International community:

  1. Increase humanitarian aid: Given the scale of the crisis, more aid is needed from the international community, both in terms of food assistance and support for other humanitarian issues.
  2. Support peacebuilding efforts: Ongoing insecurity is a major factor exacerbating the food crisis. The international community should support efforts to resolve conflicts and promote peace in the region.
  3. Invest in long-term development: While immediate aid is crucial, it’s also important to invest in long-term development to help Ethiopia build resilience and reduce its vulnerability to food crises in the future.

The situation in Ethiopia is complex and will require concerted efforts from the government, industry stakeholders, and the international community to effectively address. The country’s food security situation is not just an immediate humanitarian crisis; it’s a long-term development issue that requires a comprehensive and sustainable response.