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Biblioteca Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program.

Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program.

Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program.

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The Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program is a cross-sectoral national program of Ethiopia covering the period of 2002-2005. Its main objective is to reduce poverty and at the same time maintain macroeconomic stability.With regard to food security, the strategy’s overall objective is to ensure food security at the household level, while the rural development policies and strategies would focus on ensuring national food self-sufficiency. Overall, it rests on three pillars: (1) increasing the availability of food through domestic (own) production; (2) ensuring access to food for food deficit households; and (3) strengthening emergency response capabilities, thus applying the twin-track approach. As noted, the Program provides for both food assistance and long-term food strategies. Regarding the former, it indicates that efforts to strengthen the emergency capabilities of the government including monitoring, surveillance, and early warning arrangement, building the capacity of food and relief distribution, strategic reserves of food grains, and its analysis of the international food trade and aid situation will continue. The methods used to judge the onset of food insecurity will also be articulated and further fine-tuned.The Program is also concerned with the long-term strategy regarding agricultural development including its relation to environmental impact noting that the goal is to strengthen and expand on-going efforts to address the critical problem of land degradation with its attendant problems of deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, loss of soil structure and hydrological cycle disruption and gives the priority to highly degraded, drought prone and food insecure areas.The document equally promotes pro-poor development policy measures such as building and strengthening partnerships between community, government, private sector, and external support agencies. For this purpose, it plans to establish mechanisms such as, water committees, water boards, and water users associations, professional and civic associations. Relying on the gender-sensitive design, the Program provides for measures that will be strengthened and/or taken to enhance the participation of women in development as well as their benefits from development. Overall, it would like to enhance the active involvement of women for sustainable development and management of water projects, specifying that assigning specific number of seats for women in community-based organizations is one way to empower them in decision-making.Moreover, the Program notes that off-farm income generating activities would help supplement own production for a considerable number of farmers as coping mechanism during periods of food shortages. The public employment generation schemes could be initiated by public or private operators or even jointly and will be linked with development priorities of rural areas. These schemes may help create conducive environment towards linking relief assistance to long-term developmental efforts. Improved credit services for food insecure rural and urban households are also envisaged in order to address both supply and demand side problems. It also envisages improving rural financing systems aimed at catering the needs of micro and small-scale enterprises as well as small resource poor farmers. The government will continue to increase the availability of rural financing and provide special support to at least reduce the credit administration costs extended to food insecure communities.As to the agricultural production, the Program provides that the envisaged market led agricultural development is expected to lead to large-scale direct and indirect growth in non-farm incomes and employment. To this effect, the government will continue to initiate, promote and strengthen micro-and small-scale enterprise development through industrial extension services. These developments are believed to create additional employment opportunities in the private sector. In addition, according to the document, the policy of the government regarding agricultural marketing and distribution is to encourage the participation of the private sector and cooperatives to improve the efficiency of the system. The government will perform only regulatory and supporting functions to create a conductive business environment through appropriate fiscal incentives. Substantial improvements in the provision of market information would be sought to improve integration of markets. The on-going effort in the construction of main and rural roads, the rural travel and transport programs coupled with promotion of competition in the transportation, trade processing and distribution of food would help further reduce costs of marketing and distribution. Strengthening farmers' cooperatives would also be an important element of the food security strategy in improving rural marketing and credit system.The Programme also indicates that the government will make further efforts to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in agricultural development and to encourage foreign investors. For entrepreneurs who wish to set up large-scale commercial farms, the government will make provisions for the availability of land, adequate infrastructure facilities, and streamlined and efficient land lease procedures. The production of high-value agricultural outputs for export will be particularly encouraged through extension programmes and other appropriate incentives.The document is also concerned with disaster preparedness having as its objective to install automatic stage recorders at strategic sites on flood-prone area; estimating flood sizes, in particular peak floods; determining the possible methods of flood protection; selecting the appropriate sites for disaster prevention actions; and ensuring appropriate and timely maintenance of flood control structures. In drought affected areas, it plans to intensify ground water exploration; formulate a comprehensive programme for the selection of wells, boreholes, stock ponds and subsurface dams, among others.Concerning the implementation of the Program, the document notes that after the re-organizations in the Government, the Ministry of Rural Development has been established to better coordinate and guide rural development. With respect to food security a Food Security Department has been established within the Ministry of Rural Development, which is responsible for the overall fund management of the food security program in the country and to guide and monitor the implementation of the programmes. A Food security steering committee has also been established chaired by Ministry of Rural Development and Regional food security offices shall play a significant role in co-coordinating the program in their respective regions.

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