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Population-resource pressure and vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition: multi-level analysis in 16 drought-prone districts throughout Ethiopia

Charles H. Teller, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Yared Mekonnen, Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute
Gugsa Yimer
Ali Hassan
Asfaw Yitna
Keffene Asfaw
Tewolde Gebre-Birhan
Yohannes Getenet

Ethiopia suffered two devastating famines 1999-2003, affecting around 15 million people yearly, and now 5 million are chronically food insecure. The importance of population factors in contributing to famine in a large country of 73 million with rapid population growth, land pressure and environmental degration is often debated without empirical data. This research identifies process and causes of vulnerability to hunger/malnutrition, and the role of macro and micro population factors. The study design included a multistage, stratified random sample in 16 drought-prone districts and 93 communities. The sample size was nearly 10,000 households, 9700 women and 4000 children. It was found that while population growth and high agricultural density were constraints to high levels of food insecurity/malnutrition, per capita household production, land access and cattle and family composition/structure were. Case studies of two neighbouring high density districts with both high and low land density areas are contrasted, showing the greater importance of both technical and organizational factors.

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Presented in Session 171: Population, environment and development