Viva: Gezahegn Abebe

Master of Philosophy in Development Geography Gezahegn Abebe will be defending his dissertation for the degree of Ph.D. (philosophiae doctor) at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography.

Household Food Insecurity in the Sidama Zone of Southern Ethiopia. Factors, coping and Adaptation Strategies

Gezahegn Abebe

Time and place for the trial lecture:

Time: 20th April 2018 09.15 AM

Place: Auditorium 6, Eilert Sundts Building

Title: Understanding famines and food insecurity in Ethiopia: Historical perspectives, contemporary challenges and future prospects


Adjudication committee:

  • Associate Professor Joseph Yaro, University of Ghana
  • Professor Darley Jose Kjosavik, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Professor Karen O'Brien, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo

Chair of Defence:

  • Professor David Jordhus-Lier, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo


  • Professor Jan Hesselberg, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo

Small-scale farmers in Ethiopia depend on a mixed rain-fed agriculture. The sector is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and climate variability and other natural and societal adversities. Using a case study design combining qualitative in-depth interviews and a household survey, the study findings show not only the complexity and inter-linkages of different structural and local factors influencing farmers’ food insecurity but also their responses to these factors in two purposefully selected sites: the Fero-two Peasant Association (coffee-based farming system) in the Wensho district and the Hanja-Chafa Peasant Association (maize-based farming system) in the Boricha district of the Sidama zone. Some of the factors that cause farmers food insecurity are similar while some differ between the study sites. The factors causing farmers food insecurity are economic, some are social and others are physical and political and environmental ranging from local to national and international levels weaken their adaptive capacity to deal with the effects of climate variability and change. Climate-related shocks and stressors are not only affect climate-dependent livelihoods but also exacerbating existing social, economic and political drivers of food insecurity. Although the results indicate the farmers’ food security condition is getting worse, the intensity and severity of food insecurity vary between communities and socio-economic groups within a community.

Farmers’ in response adopt multiple forms of ex-ante and ex-post consumption and production-related adaptation strategies to manage climate change impacts and changes that affect their present sustenance negatively and jeopardize their future income generating capacity. However, most of the adopted strategies are short-term but also vary not only between the two sites but also with household characteristics. The study suggests a single and short-term food security intervention is little use for improving the farmers’ adaptive capacity to deal with environmental and socio-economic changes and hence they are on the vulnerability pathway. Resilience is essential to avoid a recurrence of food shortages. However, policy interventions need better comprehend the local condition of vulnerability and the complexity of farmers’ livelihood strategies, the agro-ecology, rainfall pattern and farming system to adapt sustainable agricultural practices and social protection to build resilience to adapt climate change and other interrelated socio-politico-economic drivers of food insecurity. The thesis comprises introductory chapter that elaborate the research questions, theoretical frameworks, methodology and summary of findings, followed by seven articles that have been submitted to reputable journals for publication.

Scientific abstract


For more information:

Contact Katalin Godberg

Publisert 4. apr. 2018 14:31 - Sist endret 13. apr. 2018 14:40