The green famine belt of Ethiopia is customarily viewed as food secure area only due to relatively adequate rainfall and green vegetation cover. In contrast, this paper argues and shows that the food insecurity condition termed as “green famine” has always existed in the belt. Accordingly, the paper examined the extent and severity of food insecurity based on a cross-sectional survey of 220 households in Belo-jiganfoy district. A structured questionnaire was employed to collect data. A household food balance model was used to determine the food insecurity status and then to compute the head count ratio and food shortfalls index for determining the extent and severity of food insecurity respectively. The result showed that food insecurity was widespread and deep-rooted. The head count ratio showed that about 72% of the surveyed households were food insecure. The food shortfall index showed that on average households were 48% far below the food security threshold. The household food insecurity access prevalence showed that about 62% of the respondents were food insecure at different levels of severity: 21% mildly, 23% moderately, and 18% severely food insecure. Small-scale irrigation, wage labor, family size, land size, livestock, off-farm income and household head education were significant determinants of food insecurity. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the extent and severity of food insecurity in the green famine belt is at best similar with, and at worst more than, the situation in the drought-prone and non-green famine areas of Ethiopia.
Key words: Food insecurity, extent, severity, determinants, Western Ethiopia.
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