Since 2015, Ethiopia has been hard hit by droughts triggered by El Niño. These droughts have reduced agricultural output and livestock production throughout the country and have driven large numbers into food insecurity. The Government of Ethiopia estimates that 10.2 million people will need emergency food aid in 2016, in addition to the 7.9 million people already covered by the country’s Productive Safety Net Programme.
Over the past decade, Ethiopia’s agricultural productivity has exploded, particularly for cereal crops. This expansion in agriculture has led to impressive economic growth, but it’s unclear exactly what is behind the advance in productivity. Additionally, Ethiopian agriculture relies heavily on smallholder farmers, and some researchers are concerned that the recent growth may not be sustainable on the country’s increasingly small landholdings.