Much of the literature on developing countries has investigated ways in which farming households choose different cropping systems to hedge against uncertainty caused by weather and production shocks (e.g. Dercon, 1996 and Morduch, 1990). Very few studies have extended the analysis to examine the effects of uncertainty arising from violence or prevailing socioeconomic challenges. In this study we test whether cropping decisions of small stakeholder farmers living in the conflict prone agrarian province of North Kivu are rational and can be explained by the level of exposure to conflict, social empowerment and access to markets and information. We further investigate if contracts or guaranty from buyers through market access can partially act as a buffer against the uncertainty brought upon by conflict. We find that increased exposure to social conflict increases cultivation of conflict-resistant crops and crop diversification; low access to markets and information as well as the lack of contracts reduces cultivation of conflict-resistant crops and crop diversification; we find mixed results for social empowerment.


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