Famine of 1948

  • 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.

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