Conflict and agriculture have a long, shared history. The purpose of this research
is to look at the relationships between agriculture, agricultural technologies, and conflict
during current and recent conflicts, large scale and localized. Agriculture and its related
technologies are often affected by conflict, but rarely acknowledged as a cause or
solution to conflict. Literature reviews in six topic areas illustrate various facets of the
relationship between agriculture and conflict.
Research conducted in Santa Cruz del Quich?, Guatemala illustrates the ways
farmers were impacted by the country's civil war. It also examines farmer survival
strategies during the war, and reveals the presence of minor localized conflict over water
resources. Conflict over land is not a major concern at present. Market access for inputs
and outputs are shown to have been a problem for a number of farmers during the civil
war. The poverty of Santa Cruz farmers indicates that much could be gained by rural
development. Research is unable to support the hypotheses that agricultural technologies
have prevented or caused conflict in Santa Cruz del Quich?, or that they have played a
large role in recovery from the country's civil war.
The author recommends that future research be undertaken in regions with a
diverse set of agricultural technologies, and/or a recent history of significant technological change in agriculture. Policy recommendations include providing secure
access to markets during war time, increasing capacity for home-based rural production,
and continuing research into resilient crops. Finally, the author suggests that the
responsible decision to develop, adopt, or introduce an agricultural technology must take
into account the social consequences of that decision, including how the new technology
may alleviate or contribute to conflict.
- Woodward, Richard Professor