“Ethiopia: Villagisation brings problems”,
Africa Research Bulletin, Vol. 23, #4, May 31, 1986. (8194-5)
The article explains that the governments policy of forced resettlement known as “villagisation.” The purpose of villagisation has been to increase urban development, especially health and education services by moving rural dwellers to village centers. The program has been used all over Ethiopia and was initially intended to be used in Harar for security purposes, since guerrilla groups had easy access to the villages.
Villagisation has also been used by Tanzania, where it did not work well. The main problem with it is that people being resettled are forced to walk long distances from the village center, where they have been relocated, to their farm plots. In the province of Harar, villagers have had to walk five miles to their plots. This has led to land neglect. Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture officials have criticized the policy, which has largely been controlled by local leaders.
The policy has led to much lower food production and output, at a time when Ethiopia is experiencing a surge in famine. Ethiopian Head of State Col. Mengistu suggested several incentives to improve the villagisation policy and food production including lower interest rates, lower cement prices, access to cheaper credit, and consumer cooperatives to combat inflation.
Summary by Brian Bodine