Government Rural Programs
In l984 the founding congress of the Workers' Party of
Ethiopia (WPE) emphasized the need for a coordinated
strategy based on socialist principles to accelerate
agricultural development. To implement this strategy, the
government relied on peasant associations and rural
development, cooperatives and state farms, resettlement and
villagization, increased food production, and a new
Peasant Associations and Rural Devlopment
Planting cotton in the Awash Valley.
Courtesy United Nations.
Food distribution point at Senafe, 1988.
Courtesy International Committee of the Red Cross (T.
Articles 8 and l0 of the l975 Land Reform Proclamation
required that peasants be organized into a hierarchy of
associations that would facilitate the implementation of
rural development programs and policies. Accordingly, after
the land reform announcement, the government mobilized more
than 60,000 students to organize peasants into associations.
By the end of l987, there were 20,367 peasant associations
with a membership of 5.7 million farmers. Each association
covered an area of 800 hectares, and members included
tenants, landless laborers, and landowners holding fewer
than ten hectares. Former landowners who had held more than
ten hectares of land could join an association only after
the completion of land redistribution. An umbrella
organization known as the All-Ethiopia Peasants' Association
(AEPA) represented local associations. Peasant associations
assumed a wide range of responsibilities, including
implementation of government land use directives;
adjudication of land disputes; encouragement of development
programs, such as water and land conservation; construction
of schools, clinics, and cooperatives; organization of
defense squads; and tax collection. Peasant associations
also became involved in organizing forestry programs, local
service and production cooperatives, road construction, and
data collection projects, such as the l984 census.
Data as of 1991