Food Crop Diversification as a Risk Mitigating Strategy during Conflict: Evidence from Cote d’Ivoire

Discussion Papers

No.496

by Saumik PAUL, Abu S. SHONCHOY and Andrew DABALEN

March 2015

ABSTRACT

This study examines the significance of food crop diversification as a household risk mitigating strategy to achieve “self-sufficiency” to ensure food security during the civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire. The main motivation for seeking self-sufficiency stems from the fact that during the period of heightened tension due to conflict, the north–south divide set by the UN peacekeeping line disrupted the agricultural supply chain from the food surplus zone, Savane in the north. While we theoretically predict a positive effect on crop diversification because of interrupted food supply chain, we also consider a negative effect due to the covariate shocks. We find robust and statistically significant empirical outcomes supporting such claims. The baseline outcomes withstand a series of robustness checks. The net effect of conflict on crop diversification is positive but not statistically significant. In addition, we find that increasing vulnerability to poverty and food insecurity during conflict seems to be the underlying factors that motivate farm households to adopt such coping strategies.

Keywords: conflict, uncertainty, agricultural production, developing countries
JEL classification: D13, D74, Q1

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