The Untapped potential: The Challenges of Agriculture Growth and its Effects on Food Security in Ethiopia

Time span of the project    2016-2020
Contact personProf Dr Tjard de Cock Bunning
Project partners
University of Ethiopia
Project sponsorNUFFIC


It is often revealed that agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Ethiopia. This assertion emanates from the size of population it supports and its contribution to the national economic growth. Nearly 84% of the country’s population relies, either directly or indirectly, on agricultural activities to earn their livelihood. Furthermore, agricultural products constitute dominant share of export trade. 

Agriculture accounts for about 45% of the GDP and 85% of export revenues. The smallholder subsistence farms occupy about 90% of the crop land and produce around 95% of the total agricultural output. 

Thus, the performance of agricultural sector is detrimental not only to feed the ever-increasing population but also to boost national economic growth. 

In this light, the research attempts to address the following questions: (a) why are the previous and existing policies and strategies unable to achieve sustained agricultural growth and food self-sufficiency at a household level? (b) What are the factors explaining food insecurity at the household level? (c) What is the effect of food insecurity on the wellbeing of household members? 

How do households respond to (cope with) food insecurity? What are the pros and cons of these response strategies in terms of reducing vulnerability to food insecurity and ensuring healthy development of household members?