Drivers of abrupt and gradual changes in agricultural systems in Chad

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The countries in the Sahel are undergoing rapid changes due to a mixture of demographic, ecological, and economic transformations. Rural livelihoods in these countries are predominantly engaged in agriculture, which is a foundational component of both food security and the general economy. The relationships between ongoing socio-economic transformation and the agricultural sector are clearly important to address poverty and sustainable development, but have received little academic attention on a subnational level of analysis. This paper addresses this by bringing together new datasets on demography, international aid, food security reports, and soil moisture to analyze the drivers of change in the agricultural sector on a subnational level in Chad. Both regression analyses and qualitative methods based on descriptions in food security reports are used to evaluate the relationships between these datasets to agricultural statistics for the period 1990–2016. It finds that changes to crop water availability from rainfall largely are decoupled from the long-term increases in crop production. On the other hand, it shows that population changes and international aid can explain differences in long-term agricultural changes between Chad’s regions. Moreover, stochastic factors such as farm support programs, market prices, access to new markets, and accommodation of refugees are identified as important to grasp abrupt changes in the crop production. Beyond the specific findings for Chad, this study presents a framework for improved evaluation of the drivers behind subnational crop production on multi-annual and decadal time scales, with broad applicability to agricultural systems in the Sahel.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


  • Agricultural production
  • Population
  • International aid
  • Livelihood analysis
  • Soil moisture
  • Sahel


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