- WASHINGTON (AP) _ Look for the roots of war literally in the roots of nations'
agriculture, suggests a report financed by an organization seeking to build
public understanding of the importance of farming.
- The study released today draws a link
between poor agriculture and the spread of regional and internal wars.
It estimates that 4 million people have died in post-Cold War conflicts,
90 percent of them civilians, and points to India as a country where conflicts
have been avoided to a degree with agricultural successes.
- ``This report demonstrates that providing
developing world farmers with the fruits of research, when combined with
other measures, not only helps to end hunger, but can also contribute to
ending the increasingly vicious warfare that the world has seen during
the 1990s,'' said Dr. Indra de Soysa, co-author of the study conducted
for Future Harvest, which commissions research for the 16 worldwide centers
of the U.N.-connected Consultative Group on International Agricultural
- De Soysa said research uncovered a strong
link between conditions affecting agriculture and poverty and a new pattern
of conflicts. The report said the new wars are largely internal and tend
to reflect crises of subsistence rather than of ideological conflict or
- ``These new conflicts can be traced to
the loss of livelihood, the hopelessness of surviving at the margins, and
the alternative life of crime and banditry,'' de Soysa said. The report
concludes that when people are unable to meet their food requirements,
their survival strategies often lead them to join rebellions or become
- The report describes how India, despite
widespread poverty, has avoided serious conflicts ``by providing poor farmers
with high-tech seeds and extension services.''
- In the 1960, India and sub-Saharan Africa
were each producing about 50 million tons of food a year, but by 1988,
India was producing 150 million tons while Africa had remained at about
the same level, the report said.
- ``In contrast to the endemic violence
in Africa and in parts of Latin America that stem largely from subsistence
crises, India can serve as an example of how effective state action and
a functioning participatory political system can mitigate serious armed
confrontation,'' the report said.
- India has had scores of conflicts through
the years but its lack of widespread unrest suggests ways to avoid conflict
in other regions, by properly mixing agricultural research aimed at developing
modern technology for subsistence farmers and policies which will increase
food production and raise incomes of the poor, the report said.
- With international peacekeeping and emergency
humanitarian relief now totaling more than $10 billion a year, a reduction
of conflicts would also benefit more prosperous nations, it said.