Cultivating stability: Agriculture systems, conflict & resilience
This publication (PDF) of Mercy Corps aims to provide ways to ensure that agricultural systems continue to function throughout violent conflict, recover more quickly and minimize the risks of fueling further conflicts so that the people within the systems maintain food security and economic gains. The basis for any agriculture intervention in a situation of conflict or at risk of conflict is to have a good understanding of the conflict issues that could impact or have their source in the agriculture system. This understanding will allow to tailor appropriate solutions for each affected group in ways that respond to their unique needs and vulnerabilities and that address directly and deliberately the drivers of conflicts. The “freedom of movement” can be used as a proxy indicator to determine which intervention can apply. Freedom of movement can be dictated by people’s own fears (they do not want to travel to markets because of insecurity), or movement restrictions may be imposed by the government or militias. In intense conflict, where security concerns limit the freedom of movement, maintaining local production and consumption is paramount to fighting acute hunger and preventing the total breakdown of the system. At immediate (or near-term) risk of conflict or when conflict diminishes, facilitating the development of adaptive market and production systems will be the key to maintaining production levels and feeding the population. To prevent conflicts from reoccurring, we need to address the systemic barriers that perpetuate cycles of conflict, poverty and vulnerabilities. The article comes with a number of princples and actions: 1) Foster social cohesion; 2) Tailor solutions to different affected groups; 3) Ensure protection of women and youth; 4) Support inclusive re/construction of productive infrastructure; 5) Develop conflict-resilient production systems; 6) Promote context-driven local solutions; 7) Mainstream water and land governance and; 8) Strengthen agriculture markets from the onset.