This paper presents the findings of a study commissioned by World Food Programme (WFP) in early 2006 to enhance understanding of how the conflict in Darfur has affected livelihoods and markets, and of the effects of food aid. The livelihoods of many in Darfur were devastated early on in the conflict, principally through the widespread looting or destruction of assets and highly restricted population movements, which struck at the heart of pre-conflict livelihoods. Livelihood strategies for most people are now restricted, poorly remunerated and often associated with high risk of attack. Patterns of coercion and exploitation have also become entrenched; and markets and trade, the lifeblood of Da fur's economy pre-conflict, severely disrupted. Against this backdrop the impact of food aid on livelihoods in Darfur has been overwhelmingly positive. The paper proposes a number of preconditions for investment in recovery in Darfur, and recommends ways in which livelihoods can be supported in the current context of ongoing conflict.