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In Ethiopia, Food Stability Through Index Insurance

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009

Late last month, Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia's agriculture minister, appealed to the international community for $175 million in emergency food aid to feed the 6.2 million people who are in the grip of severe drought there. Since famine killed 1 million Ethiopians 25 years ago, the country has remained in a cycle of drought-driven crises keeping it dependent on foreign aid. The U.S. is no stranger to assisting Ethiopia: It provides nearly 80 percent of food aid delivered to the country and began food shipments in anticipation of the government's latest request.

But while food aid addresses the immediate need, feeding people after they're hungry exacerbates dependency and contributes to poverty. It substitutes for preparedness and makes absorbing the next shock less manageable. ...

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