Dagmawi asks why 5 M Ethiopians Need Food Aid

Ethiopian Agri GDPJAN 31 2009 (Dagmawi Blog)– About Five Million Ethiopians Need Food Aid. WHY? After 18 years of a supposedly pro-farmer government, why are we still here? Look at the figure below from the World Bank Report (2008): Ethiopia Agriculture and Rural Development Public Expenditure Review 1997/98 – 2005/06. The TPLF/EPRDF could not even restore per capita agricultural GDP to levels beyond that of the war-torn Mengistu era. This is despite a huge increase in spending (driven largely by foreign aid)

The problem with the Derg and the TPLF/EPRDF is the same. The world has known for many years now that socialized agriculture produces poor results. But the TPLF/EPRDF is intensifying its control of the countryside. Its cadre system controls fertilizer distribution. Its rural cadres control land distribution. Its party-affiliated companies control marketing. Its cadres control microfinance institutions. Private enterprises are squeezed out. Surplus from this agricultural “rent-seeking” goes to fund TPLF/EPRDF party work. Its a vicious cycle of control.

Even if the TPLFs monopoly control of agricultural inputs and outputs was a good idea, the centralized, top-down, Leninist organization of the TPLF limits the efficiency of the system.

    “Autocratic hierarchies have to contend with limitations on their performance because of weak accountability and insufficient flows of information. Their top-down, closed structure chokes off information from outside sources and distorts it, due to imperatives of political control.””Closed political systems are prone to policy mistakes arising from bad information. The historical record of tyrannies, despotisms, and dictatorships bears this out.”— D. Deudney and G.J. Ikenberry, The Myth of Autocratic Revival – Why Liberal Democracy Will Prevail. Foreign Policy, January/February 2009

But some people have lots of food. Ethiopia, the most starvation-prone country in the world, has probably the most obese president in the world. Obese leaders in a famine country – a fitting symbol of “revolutionary democracy”.

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Posted by on February 1, 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.