A good example of a conflict situation that is relevant to agricultural education services is natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes (Agricultural Development and the Cost of Conflict, 2016). When such disasters happen, they lead to the disruption of agricultural production cycles especially when they hit a crop that is in its formative stages or one that is just flowering. Most conflicts in some parts of the developed world are as a result of natural disasters, some of which are beyond the control of man. These are issues that agricultural educators strive to study and understand with the aim of alleviating conflicts that might arise due to natural causes.
According to Kazbekov & Qureshi (2011), agricultural extension is the provision of education services to farming communities in a way that ensures farmer participation with the aim of improving their agricultural production and livelihoods. There are several ways in which extension can help mitigate conflict situations that arise from natural disasters. Firstly, according to Disaster Recovery – Agriculture (2016), extension services can assist in planning to reduce the impact of disasters as well as in quickening recovery for victims of natural disasters. Secondly, extension services can avail information that would be useful in dealing with other threats to victims of natural disasters, for instance, availing food, preventing diseases and ensuring security. They can successfully do this through collaborating with relief agencies and arms of government that are tasked with these responsibilities.
The Resolving Conflict Factsheet (2006) contends that underneath incompatible positions, for instance, agricultural production and natural disasters, there are compatible interests which need to be brought out. For example, farmers can be educated by extension officers to plant their crops when the likelihood of natural disasters is less. They could also be equipped with the skills of storing the agricultural produce they already have so that it is not destroyed by the natural disaster.
In a nutshell, it is evident that conflict situations are part of agricultural economies. There are however deliberate steps that can be taken to mitigate conflicts where and when they arise whether they are a result of either man’s activities or natural disasters.
Agricultural Development and the Cost of Conflict (2016) Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/training/programmes/Instructor%20Version/Part_2/Activities/Interest_Groups/Justice_and_Peace/Supplemental/Agricultural_Development_and_the_Cost_of_Conflict.pdf on March 9, 2016
Kazbekov, J & Qureshi, A.S. (2011) Agricultural Extension in Central Asia: Existing Strategies and Future Needs. (p 145) Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute
Resolving Conflict Worksheet (July 2006) Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/facts/06-067.htm on March 9, 2016
Disaster Recovery Agriculture (2016, March 9) Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs: Division of Emergency Management. Retrieved from http://emergencymanagement.wi.gov/recovery/agriculture.asp