Paper: Non-state armed groups as food systems actors

Paper details

Paper authors Denise Ripamonti, Caitriona Dowd, Kelsey Gleason, Sam Polzin, Ronak Patel
In panel on Conflict and Hunger: Untangling the Connections and Building Food System Resilience
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person & Online


Violent conflict is the primary driver of food crises worldwide. A growing body of work examines the specific conflict dynamics and actors that intersect with food systems, but our understanding of the specific role non-state armed groups play remains limited, particularly in comparative perspective. This paper addresses this gap by undertaking comparative analysis of non-state armed groups' interactions with the food system and food policy space in contemporary Haiti and Somalia. Drawing on primarily qualitative research in both contexts, we argue that despite a dominant focus on conflict actors and production in existing literature, non-state armed groups are active at every stage of the food system; and that these interactions can be characterised as systematic and coordinated, rather than solely opportunistic. The findings contribute to advancing i) research on conflict and hunger to highlight precise mechanisms by which violent actors disrupt and shape food systems; ii) research on rebel governance by highlighting a heretofore neglected domain of rebel policy and governance (food systems); and iii) research on humanitarian crises, and food crises in particular, by undertaking comparative analysis of seemingly diverse cases which reveal a number of continuities in the contours of conflict and food crisis.