In the post–Cold War era, armed conflicts are overwhelmingly located in poverty-stricken countries. Many of these conflicts claim alarming numbers of civilian casualties and spill over into neighboring territories, involving the international community in costly relief operations, often under hostile conditions. This study views development failure and the vulnerability to armed conflict within a framework that focuses on the conditions of the rural sector. Agriculture is the dominant sector in most poor countries and is crucial for generating income. Strengthening agriculture is likely to pay great dividends in terms of prosperity and peace.
The Cold War generated ideological conflicts which pitted against each other rival factions backed by the two superpowers or their allies. Today’s internal violence largely resembles subsistence crises, the predominant form of violence during pre-industrial times. This study examines how conditions negatively affecting agriculture generate grievances and ultimately result in endemic armed conflict. This report discusses the agricultural policies and food distribution strategies employed in India, which has managed to mitigate many of the conflict-producing effects of poverty. The Indian case contrasts dramatically with the numerous failed states in Sub-Saharan Africa. The path to development and peace is dependent on increased production as well as a favorable policy environment. The development and dissemination of improved agricultural technology is crucial for increasing production. Good governance helps to ensure that the increased production benefits the general population by securing an adequate food supply for all, while promoting environmentally sound production practices.
CONTENTS Foreword 5 Introduction 7 The Post–Cold War Security Environment 11 How Problems in Agriculture Lead to Conflict 18 The Consequences of Warfare for Agriculture 56 Conclusions and Policy Recommendations 66 Appendix: Agricultural Issues in Recent Armed Conflicts 73 References 82 Detailed Table of Contents 99 Appendix: Map: Dependence on Agriculture and Armed Conflict 1989-97