Impacts of Violent Conflict on the Agricultural Village of Talisawa, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao, Southern Philippines
While there are several studies on the analysis of the armed conflict in the Bangsamoro region and its effects on infrastructure, health, education, women, children, and the youth, there is a dearth of studies on how violent conflicts impact farmers and their livelihood activities. This paper describes the effects of violent conflicts on agricultural infrastructures, farming practices and cropping systems, and implementation of agriculture-related government programs. Desk research, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions with farmers of Barangay Talisawa were conducted to gather data. Results show that farmers are directly affected as the actual armed confrontations occur at their farms, which forced them to leave their crops and lose their harvest. The whole community also evacuated for safety at the nearest urban center. Farmers temporarily work in urban areas to meet their family’s daily needs. Farmers also stick to planting corn as the crop is not priced highly and consequently not vulnerable to stealing. Corn can also be stored and consumed during times of conflict. The farmers’ high-value livestock such as carabaos and cows were also stolen during the war. The delivery of agriculture-related services was also temporarily discontinued as the local government’s priority is diverted to relief and rehabilitation operations. It is recommended that the government’s agriculture-related programs implemented in conflict-affected areas should take into consideration the effects of armed conflicts on farming and introduce more “conflict-resilient” crops and livestock.