INTRODUCTION

The following report is an account of my work from 1975 to 1979 in Ethiopia, to which country I was assigned by FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Development Programme as an agricultural economist of the Settlement Agency of the Ethiopian Government. My main responsibility during this period was conducting a national study of existing land settlement schemes for landless rural populations.

During this period Ethiopia was engaged in a civil war, which was fought between a ruthless Marxist regime and Ethiopian Non Marxists groups. From 1977 onwards the country was also engaged in a war with Somalia, mainly because of a dispute about the division of water from the Wabi Shebella River in the Ogaden.

The continuing civil war and the war with Somalia during the 1970s restricted the movements of Ethiopians and foreigners alike and people were not allowed to travel outside the capital Addis Ababa. Fortunately our settlement study team obtained special travel permits to survey the approximately 100 settlement schemes existing at that time in Ethiopia, most of which were located in remote areas.

Due to these travel restrictions the Ethiopian photo gallery and introduction to my work covers only my work and travels for the national Ethiopian land settlement study. The study offered me the only occasion to travel outside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian chapter of my professional work and travels is therefore more limited in set up compared with the other chapters of my web site, which also include accounts of private travels.

I am fully aware that interest in settlement of landless rural population is limited to development professionals working in land settlement projects. However, it is my personal opinion that it is important that the information and images, collected by me in Ethiopia during 1975-1979, are recorded and preserved for future generations. I was one of the few professionals in those days, who had access and detailed information on settlement issues in Ethiopia. I thus find it my duty to write this account aware of the fact that these issues had a major impact on rural development in Ethiopia. Furthermore my experiences may have relevance for other countries in similar stages of development.
My account is based on my reports and other relevant references, which are listed in Annex 3.
The following account describes first the desperate situation of the small farmers in the rural areas of Ethiopia before and during the early 1970s, which was caused by feudal land tenure conditions existing at that time in Ethiopia. Unfortunately the severe drought of 1970-1974 worsened the situation and an estimated 200 000 rural people died in Ethiopia due to starvation while most farmers during this period lost all their crops and livestock. The second part of my account describes the response to this situation which lead to the establishment of settlement schemes aimed at improving the situation of the rural landless.