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Africa: farming through conflict

29-11-2007 Report

The brochure, “Farming Through Conflict”, presents fifteen case studies, exclusively of an agricultural nature, that show the diversity of farming practices all over the world. The case studies are intended to go beyond the immediate problems, tragic deaths and broken destinies caused by conflict and to show how people can cope and rebuild their livelihoods. The purpose of the brochure is to illustrate the type of answers that an organisation like ICRC can provide.

The nature of conflicts has changed. During the last few decades international and non-international conflicts have tended to last longer; clearly established frontlines and battlefields have disappeared to be replaced by hit-and-run tactics and prolonged struggles for resources, territories or populations control.

As a result, the civilian population often becom e targets of the conflict, or are the major victims of conflict. Not only are civilian populations the victims of conflict, but the impact of the conflict may affect civilians to a much greater and prolonged degree. Civilian populations are frequently forced to flee, losing all their belongings. Their villages and fields are often destroyed in a systematic and regular way. Their movements and access to resources may be limited. Furthermore the most productive members of the community are increasingly under threat of forced recruitment into armed groups leaving their households without a sufficient work force. In other words, households may not only be destituted, but their chances of recovery are more limited and sometimes impossible.

As protecting and assisting the victims of war is our core mandate, ICRC has to constantly develop new approaches to provide the best assistance to civilian populations. Adapting itself to the evolution of conflict, ICRC continues to address the needs of the civilian population not only during emergencies but also for some time after the conflict in order to restart their normal economic activities.