Food security and climate change

As most of people in Ethiopia depend on subsistence economy, they are vulnerable to climatic variations. During Ethiopia’s long history, droughts and famines have occurred often. For example, during the period 1958 to 2011 some parts of the country were repeatedly affected by serious food shortages resulting in localized or widespread famines. The worst famines occurred in 1974 and 1983-85, when an estimated 250 000 and 1 million people respectively, died because of food shortage.

Climate change will disrupt weather patterns, change rainfall distribution, and increase temperatures beyond what crops can tolerate. Climate change represents a threat to food security, especially in countries on the Horn of Africa.  Although severe droughts obviously may cause famines, the climate only partially explains the seeming increased vulnerability to drought among the population living in these areas.

Recently Seifu Hagos from Addis Ababa University started his PhD studies on food security and climate change. His study aims to develop statistical and mathematical models to analyse trends and forecast the impact of climate change on food security, malnutrition vulnerability, and population health in Ethiopia.

Modelling the effects of climate changes on health and nutrition of households will provide important and relevant information for policy actions.

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