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Why is Ethiopia hungry again? Ityophiyaan maaliif ammas beelofte ? October 24, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Why is Ethiopia hungry again?

By Jawar Mohammed

Just couple months ago, Western leaders and media outlets were fascinated with Ethiopia’s ‘miraculous’ economic growth. From Bill Gates to Obama and everyone else in between, they were convinced and tried to persuade others that Ethiopia has put that sad history of hunger behind itself and emerged as the fastest growing economy in Africa, if not the world.

Fast forward to these past few weeks, reports have begun giving back Ethiopia its old name- a starving country begging for urgent food aid. A month ago, the number of people needing aid were reported to be 4.5 million; now its 8.2 million and expected to reach 15 million by the end of this year. Two months ago when OMN first reported about the death of children from hunger in Western Hararghe, the regime dismissed the reports and suppressed the plea for emergency food aid. It has now been forced to admit the crisis and it is, as usual, asking the world for food aid to feed its hungry population. No amount of PR campaign or cooking the numbers to showcase double digit economic growth can hide the fact that Ethiopia is once again hit with famine.

Let’s ask the obvious question: why is Ethiopia hungry again? Within the Ethiopian discourse, four factors are often attributed as causing the recurring hunger. First, the government; not just the current but also past regimes, usually blame hunger on change in weather and climatic conditions for causing crop failure that results in food shortage. But how does an economy growing by double digits, whose agricultural sector apparently shows at least 9% annual growth for over a decade and produced ‘millions of millionaire farmers’, fail to produce enough surplus to feed few provinces hit with shortage of rainfall ?

The second theory attributes the problem hunger not on shortage of food but its weak circulation within the country. Popularized by Dr Eleni Gerbremedihin, this argument states that ‘market failure’ results in a situation where one province starves while another wastes food due to surplus production. So, Dr Eleni took her “idea whose time has come” to the World Bank and Meles Zenawi resulting with establishment of Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008. Launched with huge financial injection and massive public relation campaign, the project promised to make hunger history by ushering in a new system of market efficiency. As inspiring as Dr Eleni was, few of us remained skeptical from the get go. In response to her article promoting her project, I wrote a piece which argued that as long as the political market remains monopolized by one group, her ambition of creating an efficient and competitive exchange system is unlikely to be realized. I hate to say I told you so but 7 years later, ECX’s much anticipated revolution in agricultural market is not visible. Eleni herself has moved on ( quit or fired depending on who you ask). And hunger is back to being Ethiopia’s trademark. Genuine efforts to engineer market efficiency are either be rejected or sabotaged to serve the regime. If we take Dr Eleni’s project, the regime twisted and turned into a tool for further monopolizing the market. ECX enabled EFFORT owned companies to push out competitors and monopolize coffee export. A mechanism ( ECX ) that meant to open up the market to increase efficiency has turned out be a tool for control, corruption and monopolistic market practice.

The third argument blames hunger on the land tenure policy of the country. The argument goes that the source of food shortage in Ethiopia is farmers cultivating crop on small and fragmented plots of land using century old subsistent farming practices. Highly publicized during the 2005 election as key policy element of the CUD, this proposed solution advocates privatizing land ownership so that wealthy investors can help develop large plots of land using technologically advanced tools and inputs. This argument has already been put to test and failed to yield its intended result. Although land has not been officially privatized, domestic and foreign investors have been granted as much land as they request at dirt cheap price. Yet we are not witnessing the anticipated improvement in agricultural productivity and hunger remains a recurrent problem. Millions are starving even after over 3 million hectare of land has been leased out to the rich. Privatizing land while the political system is not competitive means, land would be transferred from millions of smallholders to few with connection to the ruling class. These few ‘investors’ are driven with profit maximizing incentives hence mostly produce for export, or hoard their product to limit circulation with the market to keep price high.

This leaves us with the fourth argument which asserts that lack of freedom is the real cause of hunger. This idea was developed by India’s Amartya Sen, who used Ethiopia as main example on a thesis that would net him Nobel Prize. Basically the argument affirms that hunger occurs only in dictatorship not in democracy. In democracy drought doesn’t necessarily lead to starvation as the media, civic society and elected officials preemptively publicize and exert pressure on the government to act early to ensure food supply. Let’s take Ethiopia and Kenya for instance. Their shared border provinces are inhabited by same people who mostly live nomadic life, and the climate condition is the same. Whenever drought hits Southern Ethiopia, it also hits Northern Kenya. But hunger in Ethiopia side of the border is a frequent phenomenon; Kenya rarely witnesses it. Hence, lack of democracy is the only argument of the four which has not been tested and still stands as plausible in Ethiopia. As long as the country is governed by authoritarian regimes, drought projection are unlikely to be acted up on, leaving farmers natural calamity whenever climate changes.

This current famine did not only bust the myth of Ethiopia’s economic miracle. It has also debunked the argument that the country could imitate the East Asian model of rapid economic growth while suppressing freedom. They can cook numbers, they could fool western diplomats and media outlets but, hunger has come back once again to unravel deception of the regime and illusion of its supporters. Poverty, and its worst form hunger, will remain the hallmark of Ethiopia until the people attain freedom and establish a government that depends on their consent rather its own gun and external aid.

Ityophiyaan maaliif ammas beelofte ?

Barruu xiixalaan siyaasaa beekamaan Obbo Jawar Mohammadiin Afaan Ingiliziin maxxansee ture  Obbo Boruu Barraaqaa akka armaan gadiitti afaan Oromootti hiikee dhiheessee jiraa. Konoo armaa gaditti argama. Obbo Boruun galatoomi jenna.

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Baatiilee lamaan tokko dura, hogganoonni Dhihaa fi miidiyaaleen isaanii guddina dinagdee ‘ajaahibsiisaa’ Itoophiyaatiin maalalamuu turani. Bill Gate irraa hanga Obaamaattii kanneen jiran hundi Itoophiyaan seenaa beelaa gaddisiisaa durii san of duubatti dhiiftee amma guddina shaffisaa Afriikaa keessattiifi tarii addunyaattuu tokkofaa ta’uu danda’u agarsiisaa jirti jechuun amananii warra hafes amansiisuuf carraaqaa turan. Torbaanota as dhihoo dabran keessa ammoo dubbiin tun cookkoo deebiteetti. Gabaasaaleen amma bahaa jiran, maqaa Itoophiyaa duraan beekamu san deebisuudhaan, biyya beeloftuu gargaarsa midhaanii ariifachiisaa kadhattu tahuu isii himaa jirani. Baatii takka dura, lakkoofsi ummata gargaarsa midhaanii barbaaduu miliyoona 4.5 tahuun yeroo himamu amanuun isaan rakkisee ture.. Amma ammoo gara miliyoona 8.2tti ol guddachuu isaa fi dhuma waggaa kanaa irratti miliyoona 15 dhaqqabuuf akka jiru gabaafamaara. Baatiilee lama dura wayta OMN yeroo duraaf waa’ee daa’imman Harargee Dhihaa keessatti balaa beelaatiin du’ani gabaase, mootummaan gabaasaa kana sobsiisuu fi oduun tunis akka gadi hin baane ukkaamfsuuf yaalaa ture. Amma garuu balaa haaluun hin danda’amne kana amanee fudhachuuf dirqameera. Akkuma baratametti ummata beela’e kana himachuun gargaarsa nyaataa addunyaa yoo gaafatu dhagahaa jirra.

Duulli ololaa kan guddina diinaggee diijitii dachaa garsiisaa jirra jedhun saaxil bahuun har’as Itoophiyaan balaa beelaatiin qabamuu isii kan dhoksuu danda’u hin taane. Gaafiin namuu if gaafatuu male, mee Itoophiyaan maalif ammas beelofte ? Sababa balaa beelaa Itoophiyaa deddeebi’ee mudatuuf ilaalcha adda addaa afurtu kennama. Kan duraa, mootummaan, kan amma aangoo irra jiru qofa osoo hin taane warri dabres, hanqina nyaataa dhalatuuf jijjiirama haala qilleensaa sababfatu. Jechuunus yoo roobni yeroo isaatti roobuu dhabe, hoongee uumuun, midhaan facaafame badee hanqinni nyaataa mudataa jedhan . Haa tahu malee, akkamitti dinagdeen diijitii dachaadhaan guddachuun himamu, kan omishni qonnaa 9% waggaa waggaatti guddachaa ganna kudhanoota lakkoofsise jedhamu tokko balaa kanaaf saaxilama ? Diinaggeen damee qonnaa kun ‘qonnaan bultoota miliyoonaroota’ hore jedhamee baara baraan badhaasni dhihaatuuf kun akkamitti nyaata gahaa omishuu hanqatee naannoolee muraasa balaa hongeetiin dhawaman sooruu dadhabe ? Kanaafu hanqini roobaa beelaaf sababa gahaa jedhanii fudhatuun hin dandayamu.

Sababni akka lammaffattii balaa beelaa kanaaf kaafamu tokko ammoo akkana jedha. Wanni beelli biyya san hubuuf biyyattiin midhaan gahaa oomishuu dadhabdee osoo hin taane, rakkoo midhaan kuufamee jiru biyya keessa raabsuu dadhabuuti jedha. Yeroo kutaan biyyattii tokko midhaan nyaataa dabraa omishee bakk itti gurguruufi kuusu dhabee rakkatu, kutaan biyyattii biroon akka beela’u kan godhe ‘kufaatii mala gabaa ti’ kan kan jedhu. Jechuunis qonnaan bulaan Jimmaa boqqolloo hanga nyaataaf isa barbaachisu caalaa omishee, gabaan guuttee, gatiin rakasee yeroo horii nyaachisu, kan Walloo sababa caamaatin midhaan jalaa badee beelaya. Kanaaf ammoo furmaanni gabayaafi geejjiba midhaan Jimmaatti haalaan tole kana wallo kn hanqinni mudate san geessu baasuu barbaachisa. Yaanni kun nama Dr. Eleni Gebremedihin jedhamtuun akka malee afarfamaa ture. Kanaafuu Dr. Eleniin yaada isii kana gara Baankii Addunyaa fi Mallas Zeenaawiitti dhiheessuudhaan bara 2008 keessa Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) jaaran. Pirojektiin maallaqa guddaa nyaatee fi hojii qunnamtii hawaasaa bal’aadhaan hundeeffame kun Itoophiyaa keessatti beela seenaa taasisuu fi sirna gabaa haaraa milkeessuuf waadaa seene. Yeroma Dr. Elenii yaada kana dhaadhessaa tortetti gariin keenya karoorri isii kun rakkoo beelaa biyya sanii hiddaan furuuf akka hin dandeenye shakkii qabnu ibsaa turre. Xalayaanin kallattiidhaan isiif barreesse tokkorratti anuu rakkoo pirojektiin sun mudachuu malu akeekkachiiseen ture. Barruu kiyya saniin, hanga gabaan siyaasaa biyyattii ol’aantummaa garee tokkootiin dhunfatame jirutti sirna bittaa-bittaa gurgurtaa namuu bilisaan itti wal dorgomu dhaabuun waan hin yaadamne ta’uun agarsiisuuf yaalee ture.

Har’a waggaa 7 booda yaanni kara ECX sirna gabayaa callaa qonnaa bifa haarayatti qindeessuun sossohinaafi waljijjirraa meeshaafi maallaqaa uumuuf waadaa galame warraaqsi sirna gabaa qonnaa hawwiin eegamaa ture, haga ammaatti firiin inni buuse hin mul’atu. Dr Eleeninuun , abdii kutatteet dhiifteefi aangorraa ari’amteefu erga ECX’n addaan baate waggaa sadi ta’e. Abdiin isiiin qabdu cilee bushaan seente taatee, waandaan isiitis jiddutti nyaadhamtee, kun egaa ammas beelti mallattoo Itoophiyaa tahuutti deebitee jirti. Akkuma gaafa duraa akeekkachiifne tattaaffiileen dhugaadhaan milkii gabaa fiduuf godhaman mootummaa abbaa irreetiin gufachiifamniiru. Pirojektii Dr. Ellenii kana yoo fudhannee laalle, mootummichi meeshaa ittiin daranuu gabaa biyyattii harkatti galfatuun godhatee itti fayyadame. ECX akka kubbaaniyaaleen EFFORT jalatti hammataman dorgoomtota biroo dhiibanii baasuudhaanfi warra harayaatittis balbla cufuun gabaa buna alatti erguudhaa dhuunfatan dandeessise. ECX kan sirna gabaa milkii fiduuf yaadame jedhamee dhaabbate, dhuma irratti gara meeshaa ittiin sirna gabaa biyyattii daranuu harka murna tokkootti galchaniin fi malaammalutummaan keessatti hanqaaqu tahee argame.

Sababni inni sadaffaan beelaaf biyya saaxila jdhamee dhiheetu haala qabeentaa lafaa (land tenure) biyyattiin hordoftu komata. Akka yaada kanaatti hanqinni midhaan nyaataa Itoophiyaa keessatti kan mudateef qonnaan bultoonni lafa qonnaa xixiqqoo irratti mala moofaa fi duubatti hafaadhaan omishu kan jedhuu dha. Dhimmi kun wayta filmaata bara 2005 san warra Qindoominaa (CUD) biratti mata duree guddaa godhamee laalamaa ture. Warri CUD sun akka furmaataatti kan dhiheessan lafa qonnaa biyyattii abbootii qabeenyaa gurguddoodhaaf laatanii, teknooloojii ammayyaatiin gargaaramanii qotuudhaan callaa midhaanii dacha dachaan ol guddisuutu fala jedha. Garuu ammoo furmaanni jedhame kun hojii irra oolfamee laalamee akka hojjechuu hin dandeenye hubatameera. Lafti biyyattii labsii seeraatiin gara qabeenyaa dhuunfaatti jijjiiramuu baatu illee, investeroonni biyya keessaa fi alaa lafa babal’aa gaafatanii gatii rakasaatiin fudhataniiru. Hanga ammaatti garuu fooyya’iinsi omisha qonnaa hawwame akka hin argaminii fi beelli ammas dhibee maraammartoo irraa hin fayyamin tahuu isaa taajjabaa jirra. Lafti qonnaa hektaarri miliyoona 3 ol tahu dureeyyiidhaaf eega laatamee booda har’as lammiileen biyyattii miliyoonotaan shallagaman beela’aa waxalamaa jiru. Haala sirni siyaasaa wal dorgoomu hin jirre keessatti lafa qonnaa dhunfaan qabachuu jechuun ummata miliyoonota irraa lafa fudhatanii harka namoota hagoo kan hidhata warra biyya bulchuu qabanitti galchuu jechuu dha. ‘Investeroonni’ hagoon kun bu’aa mataa isaanii guddifachuuf jecha midhaan gabaa alaa gurgurmu irratti xiyyeeffatu. Omisha biyya keessa raabsamu gad xiqqeessanii gatii gabaa qaalessuudhaan bu’aa guddaa hammaarrachuu barbaadu.

Kun gara sababa isa afraffaatti kan, maddi beelaa biyya tokkoo guddaan bilisummaa dhabuu ummataati kan jedhutti nu geessa. Tiyooriin kun hayyuu biyya Hindii, Amartya Sen jedhamuun bal’inaan addunyaatti akka beekamu godhame. Namni kun Itoophiyaa akka fakkeenya guddaatti fudhatee qorannoo Badhaasa Nobeelaaf isaaf argamsiise hojjete. Qorannoon Amartya Sen akka agarsiisetti seenaa keessatti balaan beelaa biyyoota abbaa irree keessatti malee warra dimokraasiidhaan bulan tokkollee keessatti uumamee akka hin beeyne mirkaneessa. Warra demokraasiin bulu biratti roobni dhabamee hongeen yoo dhalateyyuu gara balaa beelaa fiduutti hin guddatu. Sababni isaas, miidiyaan, hawaasni siiviikii fi qondaalonni ummataan filaman dhoksaa tokko malee dhiibbaa mootummaa isaanii mudachuu maluuf dursanii furmaata barbaaduudhaan balaa kana qacaleetti irra aanu. Fakkeenyaaf Itoophiyaa fi Keeniyaa wal biratti haa laallu. Ummata wal fakkaataa jireenya tikfattummaan bulantu lafa haala qilleensi isaa wal fakkaatu irra wal daangessanii qubatu. Yeroo hongeen gama Kibba Itoophiyaa dhawu hundumaa Kaabni Keeniyaas balaa kanaan dhawama. Haa tahu malee balaan beelaa daangaa Itoophiyaa gama kibbaatti beekamaa yoo tahu daangaa Keeniyaatiin garuu dabree dabree malee hin mul’atu. Kana kana irraa ka’uun wanni hubatamu, hanqinni demokraasii sababoota afran olitti ibsaman keessaa sababa isa hanga ammaatti qormaataaf dhihaatee hin kufin tahuu isaa ti. Beela Itoophiyaatti deddeebi’uuf sababni inni guddaan isa kana ta’uu isaati. Hanga biyyattiin sirnoota abbaa irreetiin bultutti, hanqina nyaataa dhabamiinsa roobaa (hongee) tiin dhufuofirraa ittisuuf dursanii waan itti hin qopphoofneef balaan beelaa ummata gaaga’uu ittuma fufa .

Dhumarratti balaan beelaa amma mudate kun olola guddina dinagdee Itoophiyaa ajaa’ibaa jedhamu fudhatama dhabsiisee qofa hin dhiifne. Biyyattiin bilisummaa ummataa ukkaamsaa guddina shaffisaa warra Eeshiyaa Bahaa akkeessitee tarkaanfachuu dandeessi ilaalcha jedhus kijibsiiseera. Lakkoofsota dharaa tottolfatanii himachuu danda’u. Dippilomaatota Dhihaa fi miidiyaalee addunyaas gowwoomfachuu malu. Haa tahu malee, beelli ammas as marmaaree gowwoomsaa sirnichaa fi gowwoomfamuu deeggartoota isaanii ifatti saaxilaa jira. Hanga ummatoonni biyyattii bilisummaa isaanii argatanii sirna isaaniif dhaabbate hin hundeeffatinitti, hanga sirni qawwee fi gargaarsa alaatti irratti irkate aangoo irra jirutti, hiyyummaa fi hammeenya irra hamaa isaa kan tahe beelli mallattoo Itoophiyaa tahee ittu fufa.

Related:-
10 Poorest Countries in The World (All in ‪#‎Africa‬, ‪#‎Ethiopia‬ is the 2nd poorest after Niger).

The views expressed in this post (blog) are those of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OromianEconomist. Posting does not imply endorsement of views by the author/ authors.

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