Causes of Poverty and Hunger


Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban (Pgs. I-XXII)

The report by Senlis Afghanistan addresses the role that culture clash can play in sparking a world conflict. The western “war against terror” has weakened efforts in strengthening southern Afghanistan’s sense of unity and identity. International presence in the country has left its inhabitants in extreme poverty, with resources and assistance going primarily towards militaristic responses. The presence and interventions by the United Kingdom and the United States have contributed to the levels of insecurity in Afghanistan. Aggressive military enterprise and poppy crop eradication has crippled the country’s economy and social structure, causing the Taliban to occupy power. Reports of extreme poverty and starvation in the country have intensified the nation’s refusal to come to terms with western countries, further perpetuating conflict in the area. Ultimately, much of the western reconstruction agenda has been centered on the transition into a democracy, without consideration for conditions of poverty and hunger in the country.

Senlis Afghanistan. “Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban.” 2006. Pgs. I-XXII. Web. September 2013. <>.


Armed Conflict and Hunger: How Conflict Causes Hunger

Food shortages and outbreaks of hunger are directly related to armed conflict and the deliberate use of hunger as a weapon. A World Hunger Education Service report notes that warring factions often seize livestock and food-producing regions in an effort to divert supplies to the armed military and its advocates. Moreover, the cutting of market supplies can be used to force civilians and opposing factions into obedience. Attempts at dispatching supplies and food to areas marred by conflict have been unsuccessful since much of the aid is often hijacked by armed parties hoping to establish a strategic monopoly over the food market. According to this report, “transporting and guarding emergency food supplies in conflict situations also becomes a chief source of livelihood, vehicles, and arms for would-be combatants.” Analysts now argue that delivering food to conflict areas can prolong war by providing fighters these forms of supplies and food sources. Furthermore, many point out that the fair distribution of aid is nearly impossible due to the lack of steadfast political structures and organizations. In many cases, conflict produces a younger generation unprepared for vocations other than fighting, thus renewing struggles with poverty and hunger in many war-torn communities.

World Hunger Education Service. “Armed Conflict and Hunger: How Conflict Causes Hunger.” Web. September 2013. <>.


Conflict: A Cause and Effect of Hunger

Military allocations can draw investments away from food sources and production, causing severe hunger and misery in parts of the world. Destruction of agricultural markets can have a detrimental effect on many families dependent on farming. This featured article by Ellen Messer, Marc J. Cohen and Thomas Marchione notes that “in the absence of war, it is very likely that a group of very poor African countries would have a) produced more food, b) generated more secure livelihoods for the population currently mired in poverty and c) had fewer children suffer from malnutrition.” Furthermore, a recent report by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that access to food accounted for “26 percent of the reduction in child malnutrition in developing countries.” Refugee camps have failed to provide individuals with safe havens as many are targeted by warring factions during times of conflict. Similarly, conflict can “anchor” younger children to vocations in fighting, which diminishes opportunities outside of the battlefield. Ultimately, war-torn countries with limited access to education and food will produce a plethora of dangerous consequences.

Messer, Ellen et al. “Conflict: A Cause and Effect of Hunger.” Environmental Change and Security Program. Issue 7. Web. September 2013. <>.


The State of Food Security in the World (Pgs. 12-17)

At the core of hunger in Africa sits poverty, which is often a result of many factors including armed conflict. Many people simply do not have the income to purchase a sufficient amount of food. A nation can suffer in what seems to be an unending cycle of violence, misery and poverty, even after the conflict is said to be resolved. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) points out that “the proportion of people who are undernourished is three times as high in countries in protracted crisis as in other developing countries.” Therefore, countries that are plagued with armed conflict and insufficient institutional capacity are more prone than other developing countries to suffer from shortages of food and malnutrition. War takes a toll on income levels, government effectiveness and control over corruption. As stated in the report, the factors that play a significant role in the deprivation of a population are “a) the way in which the development community perceives protracted crises and its relationship to the development process and b) the way in which aid is used to respond to protracted crises (aid architecture).”

Food and Agriculture Organization. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” United Nations. 2010. Pgs. 12-17. Web. September 2013. <>.

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