FAO recognizes 10 states for reducing undernourishment under MDG 1 – Ethiopia included – 3 for achieving WFS food security status

28 Nov
Wheat  (Fana foto)

Wheat (Fana foto)

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

    Amazing, even FAO’s award occasion seems to choose to expose PM Hailemariam’s repeated lies about Ethiopia in 2014 becoming food secure. FAO recognizes Ethiopia “for decreasing” prevalent undernourishment “from 74.8 percent in 1990-92 to 35 percent in 2012-14”, not for attaining food security!

    Incidentally, Mr Prime Minister, there is a world of difference between the two!

    – The Editor

Separating the wheat from the chaff

TPLF officials and cadres love deceit and duplicity; it is not clear whether they come to them or the individuals are always on a hunt for an exaggerated sense of victory and conquest. Its persistent manifestation has been their love invariably of being the conquerors and in the pilot’s seat.

Ethiopians have seen through these 24 years and are convinced that the factor behind such behavior and its politics is either their fear of loss (power & the privileges accompanying it) or problem of irreparable low self-esteem.

Consequently, Friday 28 November 2014 Ethiopians witnessed once again the TPLF people unleashing their bazooka of political propaganda in the Fana Broadcast news story emblazoned with picture (above) of deep yellow wheat on farm seemingly ready for the granary, or possibly for export by food secure Ethiopia, as Hailemariam Desalegn claimed in October 2013, destined for export.

In this latest Fana news report on FAO award, FAO bestows on nations reducing undernourishment below the 50 percent threshold, its intent and message was badly subverted in trying to portray Ethiopia as the only recipient, i.e., for having managed to prevail over hunger.

State Minister of Agriculture Wondirad Mandefro, a denier of land grab and mass dislocation of rural Ethiopians since 2008, blew his trumpet presenting the Ethiopian effort as the country that has already achieved six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UN MD data is not confirming his claim.

Recognition that calls for lots of work on the ground

So as it happens, on Sunday November 30 2014 Ethiopia would be one of the nine nations (excluding itself) to be recognized for its efforts toward achieving the targets under Goal 1 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG). To make it clear, the Ethiopian award is strictly linked to efforts contributing to decreases in the once prevalent undernourishment in the country.

Of the total 13 countries that are the subject of the FAO recognition this weekend, three – Brazil, Cameroon and Uruguay – are already earlier winners of the MDG 1 award and would thus now become awardees of the more ambitious World Food Summit (WFS) goals, confirming their food secure status.

FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva will preside over the ceremony in which the efforts of these 13 countries and the progresses they have made are recognized. The director-general would award diplomas to their representatives at a ceremony scheduled to take place at the UN agency’s Rome headquarters on 30 November, 2014.

Fana broadcast indicated that Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is likely to travel to Rome to receive the diploma. I am, however, of the opinion that if he stayed home, unless he and his family have shopping plans, he would have spared a poor nation the cost of his VIP journey on a requisitioned Ethiopian Airlines plane for the purpose, security personnel and the accompanying entourage!

If that is to to happen, the diploma could have been received by the Ethiopian ambassador in Rome.

What does MDG 1 aim to achieve?

MDG 1 has three components or targets. These are:

Target 1 A

Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day.

    *   The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.

    *   The global poverty rate at $1.25 a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate.

Target 1.B:

Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

    *   Globally, 384 million workers lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line in 2011—a reduction of 294 million since 2001.

    *   The gender gap in employment persists, with a 24.8 percentage point difference between men and women in the employment-to-population ratio in 2012.

Target 1.C:

Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

    *   The hunger reduction target should be almost met by 2015.

    *   Globally, about 842 million people are estimated to be undernourished.

    *   More than 99 million children under age five are still undernourished and underweight.


The World Food Summit (WFS) goal, approved in 1996, aims:

    “… to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015.”

The 1996 Declaration of the World Food Summit reflected the difficult goal but ensured collectively to “pledge our political will and our common and national commitment to achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015.”

Ethiopia is not anywhere near to achieving food security and, therefore, is not recognized under the WFS category.

Accordingly, the FAO statement by which Ethiopia has been recognized states:

“The prevalence of undernourishment in Ethiopia has decreased from 74.8 percent in 1990-92, to 35 percent in 2012-14. Over the same period, the number of undernourished people has decreased from 37.2 million to 32.9 million, thus reaching the MDG-1 target.”

Previous FAO awards

This is not the first time for the FAO to give awards in recognition of governmental efforts for fulfilling their pledges to end hunger. In 2014, the organization recognized China and Morocco for having reached MDG 1; at that time, it was only Chile that reached the WFS goal.

In 2013, 38 states from all regions in the world that have made outstanding progresses in the fight against hunger under MDG 1 were recognized. Those were:

    *  11 from Africa (Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo).

    *  12 from Latin America and the Caribbean: (Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela, and Uruguay).

    *  10 from Asia and the Pacific: (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Samoa, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Viet Nam).

    *  Three from Europe: (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia).

    *  Two from the Near East: (Kuwait and Jordan).


Integrity and transparency of the FAO award process

One needs to keep in mind that, in view of questions and sekpticism the organization has dicerned regarding the integrity and transparency of the recognition it bestows on governments, the FAO was upfront in stating:

    “The award is based on statistics produced by FAO using data provided by member countries and other international agencies. FAO computes the share of undernourished people in the population by estimating the share of those who cannot regularly achieve sufficient caloric consumption levels to meet the requirements for a healthy and active life. This is done by analysing data on food availability in countries and evidence on distribution of food access across the population, as gauged by household surveys.”

The FAO was also asked to indicate whether this recognition marks the end of food insecurity in any given so recognized country. FAO’s response was robust and automatic: “No, for several reasons!” In that connection, it amplified the situation as follows:

    “First, targets set in 1996 and in 2000 aim to halve the number or share of people suffering from hunger. Even if the share or number is reduced by half, there will still be a significant number of people suffering from hunger. Thus, even countries receiving the diploma should focus on the total eradication of hunger. This is likely to be an even more demanding challenge.

    Second, it is now widely recognized that food security is not just about accessing sufficient calories. Other dimensions of food security including food quality, as well as the economic and social costs incurred to procure needed food, must be duly accounted for. For these reasons, and to help the international community to track progress towards the more ambitious and comprehensive goal of totally eradicating food insecurity and malnutrition, FAO is broadening the set of data and indicators employed to monitor food insecurity.

    This is done through publication of a suite of indicators covering various dimensions of food security — availability, access, utilization and stability — and by an ambitious program to promote new metrics for measuring the severity of food insecurity based on peoples’ experiences, through the “Voices of the Hungry” project, which will generate annual indicators for more than 150 countries in the world.”


Ethiopia is badly in need of legally functioning land tenure system & accountable governance

In Ethiopia, achieving food security requires ensuring legally recognized land tenure system. This means nothing akin to the present reality, where a political cadre is the sovereign to turn everything into smoke, would hardly be permissible.

In other words, the root of today’s Ethiopia’s food security problem is politics, TPLF politics, which allows their cadres and soldiers to seize and apportion, lease and sell rural lands for their own use and that of their ethnic members and political loyalists, as is happening in Omo Valley, Oromia and Gambella at the moment.

How this has come about goes back to the reversal of the April 1975 land Proclamation No, 31/1975. That proclamation declared all rural lands to be “the collective property of the Ethiopian people”. In essence, by abolishing private ownership of rural lands, what it aimed at hitting was the rampant feudalism of the time.

The TPLF seizure of political power in Ethiopia only served Meles Zenawi’s perverse interests and understanding that Amhara dominance in Ethiopia is based on control and ownership of land, as he intimated to Paul Henze, a US intelligence operative. Therefore, in his distorted picture of the Ethiopian universe, i.e., to undermine the Amhara, Meles denied any viable basis for land ownership system in Ethiopia.

The consequences of this attained, in the name of fighting the 1975 revolution, the ethnic minority and dictatorial regime has been installed in power. Today, land is no longer administered on the basis of co-ownership between the state and the people. Today, land in Ethiopia is TPLF property, the leftovers going to their political minions.

What we have in place has not managed to correct past problems (feudalism); nor helped remove shortcomings of the 1975 proclamation. Instead, the TPLF mafia used the power vacuum and the enormous unaccountable powers in its hands, masquerading as liberators, to seize lands, sell, exchange and benefit from it. This has left in its wake endless internal chaos and conflicts in the country, if one is to review what is happening at this very moment in Gambella, Omo Valley, Afar, Amhara and Oromo lands, etc.

This means, Ethiopia’s capacity to become food sovereign or food secure has been badly damaged. Therefore, any future interest in producing sufficient, marketable and nutritious food in Ethiopia would require restoration of what has been robbed from ordinary citizens by the TPLF mafia and its agents, and instilling confidence in the population. Without it, Ethiopia is a time bomb, waiting to explode any time.

Only by taking legally reasoned and politically sound measures would Ethiopia be able to build the appropriate institutions, create sense of equity and justice, with law based sense of security, technology, which would mediate the policies and capacities to produce the foods necessary for the people and the market.

Such legal measures and the ensuing pacification would help create and maintain the appropriate balance in food production, i.e., as per the agreed FAO standard of food production exceeding population growth by 70 percent at some point.

Incidentally, what this award announcement and the detailed selection processes have made clear is the fact that Hailemariam’s claim of Ethiopia becoming food secure alaredy as of 2014 is a lie through and through. The more he uses this as lullaby to an infant, the more he exposes the regime’s bankruptcy and its further rejection by the people!

Related articles:

    Building food security in Ethiopia work in progress; new phase of PSNP agreed for 2015 -2020

    Ethiopia’s wheat conundrum

    The state of Ethiopian agriculture, prospects and pitfalls

    Cheated settlers expose TPLF lies about villagization & its land grab that have destroyed Gambella communities & livelihoods

    Meles Zenawi says: No land grab in Ethiopia—Not today, not tomorrow

    Part II. Meles says no land grab in Ethiopia—Not today, not tomorrow!

    PART III. Meles says no land grab in Ethiopia—Not today, not tomorrow!

    TPLF sneaks into Ethiopia’s seeds market, jeopardizing food security goal merely to ensure its continuity in power & privilege


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