Publication Date

5-2009

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

This paper focuses on the relationship between internal and multiethnic conflict transformation and the traditional food production sub-sector of food security. It asks, how can those in conflict safely sustain the production of a major human need? The paper is based within the broader peace, security and development situation in Kenya, showing that violent conflicts undermine agricultural activities and contribute to food shortages. Food scarcity itself contributes to further conflict. The ultimate intention of this paper is to contribute to a road map to peace and food security in Kenya.

Kenya has a complex layer of relatively peaceful multiethnic, social-cultural, political and economic relationship. However, internal disputes occur from time to time linked especially to power and economic opportunities, which are increasingly using the ethnic communities as the battle ground. Whenever political rivals disagree at the nation level their respective communities tend to take sides and the peace process usually break down. This fuels intercommunity rivalry and undermines unity. The overall desire for peace is threatened by mistrust and conflict resolution “escapes” as the battle shifts into subtle ethnic insecurity, struggles for preservation, competition for supremacies and blaming among leaders, political parties and ethnic level.

The connections between violent conflict and food scarcity exist but sustained integration interventions are limited. Political, violent conflict in 2008 interfered with the agricultural economic stability across a range of areas such as trade, farming, agro-processing and transport systems. This shows an interface between violent conflict and food security problem. Conflicts are reduced but not for long.

The paper emphasizes an “integrated” strategy towards conflict transformation and food production in a situation where they are interwoven. It reflects that internal conflicts are shaped within social, economic and political platforms. These tend to escalate when the expression of conflict/violence bears ethnic overtones. The paper’s overarching strategy points towards conflict transformation interfaced with food production.

Disciplines

Agricultural and Resource Economics

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