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Water Infrastructure And Food Security Linkages In The Blue Nile Basin Region Of Ethiopia

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Tesfaye Tafesse (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 6: Links with the energy, food and environmental sectors,
AbstractThe hitherto existing food security/insecurity studies in most parts of Africa, including Ethiopia, have largely focused on the roles of household socioeconomic and resource characteristics. Similarly, most previous studies have focused on the impacts of climate shocks (e.g. drought, flood), land degradation and regional instability on food security. The roles of infrastructural services in general and water infrastructure in particular on the food security of households, communities and regions have, however, been inadequately studied. This study tries to fill these gaps by assessing the impact of water infrastructure on food security in the Blue Nile Basin Region of Ethiopia. Data and information pertaining to food security situations and the status of domestic water supply and irrigation for the study sites in the three selected regions within the Blue Nile Basin Region in Ethiopia have been collected and analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. The former includes frequency tables, means and percentages, while the latter bi-variate and multivariate correlation and regression techniques. The multivariate techniques have been employed to see the strength and direction of the relationships between pairs of dependent and independent variables. The study also employed an analytical framework showing two-way relationships between infrastructure and food security. The bi-variate correlation results have shown inverse relationships between proportions of food insecure population and functional water schemes, percent food insecure population and the number of water schemes per 10,000 population, proportions of food insecure population and rural population accessed to potable water, and proportion of food insecure population and irrigated land per capita. Similarly, the multivariate regression analysis results have shown that 98% of the variation in the proportion of food insecure population in one of the study regions, namely Tigrai, is explained by the variations in the proportion of rural population accessed to potable water and irrigated land per capita. In the other two study regions, namely, Oromia and Amhara, a set of three water indices, viz. percent rural population accessed to potable water, number of water schemes per 10,000 population and irrigated land per capita have explained over half of the variations in the percentage of food insecure population. Overall, the findings of the study have shown that the food security status in the three selected regions in the Blue Nile Basin Region of Ethiopia is generally low and varies from zone to zone and region to region. Put in a nutshell, the study has established the existence of positive correlations between water infrastructure and food security in Ethiopia. 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