The Food and Nutrition Policy Environment and Drivers of Changes in Key Food System Outcomes in Ethiopia

  •  Nigatu Regassa Geda    
  •  Yeshtila Wondimeneh    
  •  Aklilu Amsalu    


Background: There seems to be huge gap in our understanding of the changes over time in food system outcomes and their drivers in Ethiopia. The main aim of this study is to examine the food and nutrition programs and policies and their corresponding key food system outcomes in Ethiopia. Methods: The bulk of the information was generated using scooping review of relevant articles and policy documents. About 67 full text records were used for the review. In addition, data were collected using Key Informant Interview (KIIs) purposefully selected from sectoral offices from two major cities (Hawassa and Dire Dawa), of two regions. The analytical framework used in this paper was adopted from previous studies on related subjects and addressed three key components of food system: review of food and nutrition policy environment, key food system outcomes and key drivers. Results: Despite improvement in some food system outcomes (such as child nutrition and survival), food security crises in Ethiopia are still becoming more frequent and more acute, affecting the poor disproportionately. Most food and nutrition policies are constrained by lack of implementation capacities. Indicating the presence of various barriers (socioeconomic, demographic, and environmental). Poor human capital (such as knowledge and attitude), food taboos and tradition, cultural practices such as gender-based norms, poor education, poor delivery/supply chain, demographic pressure and other environmental drivers play critical role in food and nutrition security of most vulnerable population groups in Ethiopia. Conclusion and implications: Given the challenges confronting Ethiopia today, it is imperative to assume that meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (i.e., attaining zero hunger by 2030) becomes challenging. This calls for continuous capacity building to help implement, learn, and adapt a systems approach; and access to education and skill training on food production and consumption and narrowing down the gender differential in food access and consumption.

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