Conflict, food insecurity, and globalization uri icon

abstract

  • 'For more than two centuries, proponents and critics of an open global economy have debated whether the free flows of goods, services, and capital make the world more peaceful and food secure or instead exacerbate inequalities and hardships, fanning interclass or interethnic violence motivated by grievance and greed. Food security and pri-mary agricultural commodities have been largely left out of these discussions; the authors begin to fill these gaps... the paper recommends four agendas for further food policy consideration: first, more attention to equitable outcomes in food distribution and food production and trade programs, so that such food security programs do not further contribute to ethnic divisions favoring violence-prone grievance and greed. Second, more careful scrutiny of national marketing and financial policies that influence farmer and middlemen income, and who benefits from agricultural export crops. Third, the design of some type of compensation fund for sudden or certain 'losers' in globalization, who face loss of livelihood and recruitment to violence when cash crops like coffee fail to deliver expected livelihoods. Fourth, and in sum, more systematic use of livelihood-security and rights-based frameworks that address local-level food security in the context of national food policy planning ' -- from Text
  • We explore how globalization, broadly conceived to include international humanrights norms, humanitarianism, and alternative trade, might influence peaceful and foodsecure outlooks and outcomes. The paper draws on our previous work on conflict as a cause and effect of hunger and also looks at agricultural exports as war commodities. We review studies on the relationships between (1) conflict and food insecurity, (2) conflict and globalization, and (3) globalization and food insecurity. Next, we analyze countrylevel, historical contexts where export crops, such as coffee and cotton, have been implicated in triggering and perpetuating conflict. These cases suggest that it is not export cropping per se, but production and trade structures and food and financial policy contexts that determine peaceful or belligerent outcomes. Export cropping appears to contribute to conflict when fluctuating prices destabilize household and national incomes and when revenues fund hostilities. Also, in these scenarios, governments have not taken steps to progressively realize the right to adequate food or to reduce hunger and poverty. We conclude by exploring implications for agricultural development, trade, and human rights policies

publication date

  • 2006
  • 2006