The famine that broke out in 1984 was no exception. Four factors contributed to its outbreak:
First factor, a two-year drought across the Sahel sub-region.
Second factor, a civil war that had forced citizens to flee their homes
Third factor, a forced agricultural collectivization policy implemented by Ethiopia’s president Mengistu that forced every farmer in the country to accept artificially low prices for grains and coffee.
Finally, a growing population of 2.9% a year at the time.
What this evidently suggests is that without local and international political barriers, the famine could have been largely prevented.
However, the foreign policy of the biggest humanitarian aid sponsor in Ethiopia – the US – was oblivious to these complexities. Rather, the US focused on short term solutions and merely wanted to “help” in order to push through their own political agendas.