Surviving Shocks in Ethiopia: The Role of Social Protection for Food Security

Other Titles

Case Study #4-2 of the Program: ''Food Policy For Developing Countries: The Role Of Government In The Global Food System''


Ethiopia has suffered from frequent disasters such as droughts, famines, epidemics, floods, landslides, earthquakes, civil wars, and mass displacement, as well as rapid declines in major export commodity prices. The government and the international aid community can help reduce the negative effects of these shocks on food security for vulnerable populations with a social protection strategy, which can include prevention of shocks, ex ante social insurance, and ex post social assistance. Social protection helps vulnerable populations manage their risks better and helps to create the link between relief and development. Policy options for social assistance programs that increase food security include targeted or general cash, in-kind, or voucher transfers; cash or in-kind conditional transfers (school feeding, employment guarantee scheme, food for training); price subsidies; and programs for the vulnerable. Social insurance options include cash or in-kind reserves, rural credit and microfinance, insurance schemes, livelihood diversification, and public works for the construction of infrastructure programs. The government also has the option to pursue agricultural policies that will minimize exposure to shocks, such as providing input subsidies for exportable commodities or moving away from export-led development and toward food self-sufficiency. Different social protection measures have varying levels of domestic and international support and are effective for targeting different groups of vulnerable people in Ethiopia. In response to the 2002 drought, the Government of Ethiopia revised its Food Security Strategy (FSS) and implemented a Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in 2004 that includes cash transfers and a food-for-work (FFW) public works program. Your assignment is to design a new social protection program for the Government of Ethiopia that incorporates various forms of social assistance and social insurance, taking into account the different interests of stakeholders, the nature of the risk, coping strategies, and the poverty the vulnerable are facing.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue


10 pp.

©Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. All rights reserved. This case study may be reproduced for educational purposes without express permission but must include acknowledgment to Cornell University. No commercial use is permitted without permission.


Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences

Date Issued



CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP)



Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Degree Discipline

Degree Name

Degree Level

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Annick Hiensch (2007). Case Study #4-2, ''Surviving Shocks in Ethiopia: The Role of Social Protection for Food Security''. In: Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors), ''Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies.''10 pp.

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


case study

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record