The food, harvest and yield situation in Ethiopia is not sustainable at all. Even not the relief situation:
“The number of starving people will grow; the number of bags of food needed to keep them alive will grow.”
wrote Tina Rosenberg, author of the peer-pressure-book ‘Join the Club‘, in her recent NYT-blog post. She detected how to solve famine problems by famine insurances. How should this work at all? And how in Ehtiopia, our “case study?”
Well, it’s all about a food safety net. “W.F.P. had long worked with governments to give people bags of food in exchange for their labor on community infrastructure projects.” But this form of food-for-work or cash-for-work couldn’t stay sporadic any longer, because
“If farmers couldn’t count on it to be there when they needed it, they wouldn’t take the necessary risks to improve their harvests.”
And here comes insurance, a method that people all over the world use to mitigate risks. Oxfam America staff workers spent months talking to farmers in Tigray about insurance, explaining what it was.
“The suggestion was made by a farmer,” Oxfam reported. ‘This is something I would be quite interested in,” he said, “if I could pay for it with my labor, the same way I can pay for food in the safety net.’ ”
In turn Oxfam developed and created
Similar to the the Kilimo Salama insurance program in Kenya this insurance looks to rainfall levels rather than to actual crop losses.
Read more: To Survive Famine, Will Work for Insurance by Tina Rosenberg (New York Times/Opinionator Blogs)