Since gaining independence, a number of governments in Africa have responded to protect their populations from the threat of famine. This dissertation investigates the motivations behind the choice of one form of protection over others by central government leaders. Specifically, I am interested in explaining why some governments choose an entitlement policy that is heavily reliant on wage-based protections, while other governments opt for the direct delivery of food? I answer the above question through: 1) a detailed comparative cross-country case studies of the politics of anti-famine policy choice in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe; and 2) providing temporally sensitive within-case analyses of the adoption of anti-famine policies in Botswana and Zimbabwe. My hypothesis is that the variation in the form of entitlements across countries and within a single country over time is explained by the level of incumbent insecurity. In this regard, the argument posed in this dissertation stresses the need to pay serious attention to the micro-level political concerns of central government officials in explaining policy choice.