REPORT: Political economy analysis of the Ethiopian food system

REPORT: Political economy analysis of the Ethiopian food system

ECDPM (2021) Political economy analysis of the Ethiopian food system – Key political economy factors and promising value chains to improve food system sustainability. Sean Woolfrey, Paulina Bizzotto Molina and Martin Ronceray, FAO study, February 2021. 65 p.

The study analyses the Ethiopian food system, identifying and explaining notable trends, important socio-economic, food security and nutrition and environmental outcomes generated by the food system, as well as the structural factors, institutions and actors that shape food system outcomes in Ethiopia. 

These outcomes reflect a number of sustainability challenges hampering the food system and its contribution to sustainable development in Ethiopia, including increasing land pressures, high levels of rural poverty, growing youth under-employment, gender inequality, persistent food insecurity and malnutrition, reduced biodiversity and the loss of ecosystem services, especially due to land degradation and deforestation, and weak resilience to climate change. 
Based on this analysis and on recent efforts to prioritise specific agri-food value chains in Ethiopia for focusing policy interventions and public and private investment, the study then identifies dairy, fruit and vegetable and pulses value chains as particularly promising ones on which to focus interventions to facilitate investment to achieve a sustainable impact.


The need to transform agri-food systems is broadly recognised around the world, but much more needs to happen. In developing countries, and particularly in Africa, many farmers, processors and other actors struggle to access the financial resources needed to invest in more sustainable and resilient practices to improve their agri-food systems.

This lack of financial access is why ECDPM is collaborating with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to implement the AgrInvest’ project on enabling inclusive and efficient private sector investment in agri-food systems, which is supported by the Government of Italy.

Through this project, ECDPM will work with local governments, farmers, financial intermediaries and others engaged in food systems in four African countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and Niger – to develop approaches for unlocking private investment for more sustainable agri-food practices such as more diversified production, better management, and less loss and waste in the supply chains.

By promoting investment for more sustainable and resilient agri-food systems, the project seeks to contribute to sustainable economic growth, reduced food insecurity and increased rural employment and incomes, particularly for women and youth.

In addition, ECDPM will develop, together with local agri-food system actors, approaches to promote investments in agri-food systems that are in line with the SDGs and that can be applied in other contexts. We will also ensure that the lessons we learn feed into national strategies and regional and global processes to promote sustainable agri-food systems, including the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit.

For more information on Agrinvest, download the flyer in English and French.

You can also visit FAO’s website dedicated to the AgrInvest project to access further information and material.

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