In 2009, FSS carried out a qualitative study of the state, causes and impact of household food insecurity, as well as their coping mechanisms, using the case of Lideta Sub-city in Addis Ababa. The study found that food consumption among the poor households that it covered had declined to very low levels over the last several years. The food consumption for an average individual amounted to one piece of bread per individual or even nothing for breakfast, half an injera with shiro of variable quality or some qollo for lunch and the same for dinner.
The causes of the decline in the amount and quality food consumption include rises in the price of food and other basic commodities, losses of jobs or income sources, pre-existing poverty and unemployment, contraction of demand for the goods and services of the poor, and households’ decision to invest in the schooling of a family member.
The most immediate outcome of household food shortages is chronic hunger; other impacts include physical weakness, emotional distress, weight loss, illness, and lower educational and work performance.
Households’ coping mechanisms include reducing the amount and quality of dietary items, engaging in income generating activities and dependency on several income earners.
The study recommends adopting an urban food security strategy with a safety net programme; improving the grain subsidy programme; strengthening Consumers Cooperatives; promoting employment; expanding commercial and urban food production and processing; and improving child nutrition.