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Outline what changes you think are needed to the present Ethiopian, Eritrean and international economic, political and social situation.

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Introduction

Outline what changes you think are needed to the present Ethiopian, Eritrean and international economic, political and social situation so as to reduce the vulnerability of the Ethiopian/Eritrean rural population to famine and lead to famine not occurring again. Introduction The current policies in place designed to reduce the effects of famine in the African countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea are a long way from achieving their goals. Famine has been a regular occurrence for hundreds of years. Ethiopia and Eritrea depend on two rainy seasons a year to ample crop growth. Sweeping changes must be made at local, national and international level if the severe problem of famine is to be brought under control and eventually eradicated. 85% of the rural population relies on rain, as farming is the main source of income (Jonathon Steele in Addis Ababa reports on efforts to contain disaster). In Africa annual rainfall varies dramatically and this plays a vital role in the success or failure of crops each year. ...read more.

Middle

They cause untold damage to the environment, releasing chemicals into the water, harming both people and vegetation. These inorganic fertilisers are purchased from the more affluent economies which mean's that African farmers must pay in cash for fertilisers which increase crop yields but which are ultimately destroying their own ecosystem in the process. This is indicative of the lack of sustainable food production policies in Ethiopia and Eritrea. (www.ethioembassy.org.uk) A nationwide scheme introduced by the African government gives farmers who own more than 0.5 hectares of land, improved seed varieties, fertilisers and pesticides, on loan. This has seen results in many areas which have led to higher incomes for some farmers. Schemes such as this yield benefits today but the future cost and effect on the environment in the long term is as yet unknown. (Information from Oxfam, leaflet no OX450 May 1997) Schemes to counteract the problems of soil erosion have been introduced. Oxfam in partnership with thousands of volunteers in community programmes are attempting to rebuild the land. ...read more.

Conclusion

Policies need to be changed and action taken, short term, and more importantly long term, so as to reduce the severity and frequency of the occurrence of famines in Africa. The issue of famine and drought is highly complex and is very difficult to resolve. "Famine is a direct result of drought; however it is the vulnerability of people when faced with reduced food availability that turns the situation into a disaster". (Information from Oxfam) Long term policies need to focus on food security, ensuring that food supplies are large enough to sustain the population and that excess food supplies are managed to ensure the populations survival during drought years. In the past excess food supplies have been sold to foreign countries for profit rather than being kept to feed the African population during times of famine. Government policies need in the short term to focus on making people self sufficient before they can tackle issues of producing surplus crops to sell. Existing policies have made little difference to the situation. Much still needs to be done for the long term prevention of famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea. ...read more.

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