This study of the Kaya region has a twofold objective. First, it is to contribute to the analysis of the driving forces behind changes in land use and variability in agricultural production in semi-arid regions, establishing the relative weight of climate change vis-à-vis demographic, socio-economic and institutional factors. Second, the study aims to investigate different coping strategies or ‘pathways’, developed by local actors in response to changes in their wider environment.
The study not only looks into changes in weather, production systems and pathways which occurred during the period 1960-99, and more in particular into actors’ responses to the dry years of this period, but also attempts to compare with events and trends observed earlier in the 20th century. In doing so, the book tries to give tentative answers to the question as to how present-day production systems differ from production systems of the beginning of the 20th century as well as to establish to what extent the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s and actors’ responses tell us about possible future changes of production systems and their relation with a growing aridity.