Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Famine takes root when farmers lose their means of production. In Africa, drought and war have forced huge numbers of peasants to sell off their animals and tools and abandon the land on which they depend, thus bringing local economies to a standstill. Grain yields in Africa declined by one-third per hectare over the last decade; food production is down by 15 percent since 1981. One out of every five Africans now depends on food aid. Interest payments on international loans now consume $15 billion per year. The continent’s industrial base is functioning at only one-third of capacity. The incidence of famine among Africa’s rural producers has in turn brought national economies to a halt.

To continue reading this article, please login or subscribe.

How to cite this article:

Gayle Smith "Ethiopia and the Politics of Famine Relief," Middle East Report 145 (March/April 1987).