Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Call for better family planning to stop food aid dependency

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ADDIS ABABA, 20 March (IRIN) - An aggressive family planning campaign could help curb massive food shortages, the UN's Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (EUE) said on Thursday.
It said it was worth considering how a "reward and punishment" system could be used to implement family planning strategies and tackle the deepening recurrent food crises.

In a report, the EUE added that "rapid and unhindered" population growth in Ethiopia was a significant factor in exacerbating food shortages and so family planning must be increased.

"If Ethiopia wants to become less dependent on foreign food aid, all appropriate means should be explored to stop the ongoing population explosion," the report stressed.

"The dissemination of family planning methods, possibly linked with relief operations, must be stepped up," it said. "Family planning education should be pursued more aggressively and it might be worth contemplating how far a system of reward and punishment could help implement family planning strategies."

The EUE report, detailing the severity of the drought in the Southern Nations and Nationalities People's Region, said that in one local district - Konso Special Woreda - the population has grown from 60,000 to 250,000 in just 20 years. The people had been receiving aid for 29 years.

"It can only be emphasised over and over again that one reason for the current food shortage in the country is the increase of population as is shown clearly in the case of Konso Special Woreda," the EUE argued.

In Ethiopia the population has grown from 40 million to 67 million in around 20 years.

The EUE also warned of "pocket areas of famine" in SNNPR where more than a million people are receiving aid. Across the entire country some 11 million people are in need of handouts this year.

[ENDS]

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