Improving Access to Family Planning Can Promote Food Security in the Face of Ethiopia’s Changing Climate
This brochure explains research showing that slowing population growth through family planning can help Ethiopia adapt to climate change and improve food security.
Climate change is predicted to hurt crop yields in East Africa. Maize yields, for example, may be 22 percent lower by 2030. Ethiopia already faces serious food insecurity, with 60 percent of its population consuming fewer calories per day than required under international norms. About 7.8 million Ethiopians received food assistance in 2009-10.
Ethopia’s population has grown rapidly, to 82 million in 2011. If fertility were to decline slowly from an average of 4.8 children per woman today to 2.3 children per woman in 2050, the population would reach 194 million. “Low fertility” - 1.8 children by that marker - would bring that total to 154 million.
Nearly a quarter of married Ethiopian women report wanting either no more children or wishing to wait two years before having another, but are not using contraception. To bring about a fertility decline, family planning services would need to be widely expanded.
If Ethiopia were to see “low fertility” growth, the daily calorie shortfall would be reduced to about 127 calories per person per day, nearly canceling out the effects of climate change. The brochure recommends steps organizations can take to integrate family planning into climate and food security programs.