The CSS Blog Network

Living Off the Land: Food and the Logic of Violence in Civil War

Courtesy of 마음 심/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 6 February 2017.

Does food security increase the frequency of civilian killings in some developing countries? Or can it make such atrocities less likely? The answer to these questions depends on how troops and civilians view the prospects of long-term cooperation, and the strategies they employ.

Current theories on violence during civil war frequently associate it with previous enmities and discriminate violence. Yet, even within countries that are experiencing civil war, violence varies over space and time. Some villages might suffer many civilian killings by armed troops while others do not. These villages might go through years of relative peace followed by years of intense violence. New research shows that, in the developing world, food availability and farmland density can help explain violence against civilians.

» More

Feast or Famine?

Wrestling with questions of how to feed a burgeoning population, photo: Mr Kris/flickr

Growing population demands and the shrinking availability of arable land and groundwater resources raise questions about the sustainability of agricultural production. This week the ISN takes a closer look at the threats to the future of agriculture, and the technological advances that could help promote – or in some cases undermine – global food security.

This ISN Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Peter Buxbaum on the promises and pitfalls of agricultural biotechnology.
  • A Podcast interview with Dr Ronnie Coffman on the dangers of wheat rust and the global efforts to develop more resistant varieties of wheat to mitigate the coming epidemic.
  • Security Watch articles about reducing pesticide use, racially motivated land grabs and much more.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including the recently published Center for Global Development Working Paper on ‘Pulling Agricultural Innovation and the Market Together’.
  • Primary Resources, like the full-text of the US Department of Agriculture’s projections to 2019.
  • Links to relevant websites, such as to the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
  • Our IR Directory, featuring The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, which pursues the systematic reduction of vulnerability to stem, yellow and leaf rusts of wheat.