Climate induced transformation of agriculture to artisanal mining economy in dry regions

Kenneth Joseph BANSAH*, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Elsie ASSAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes to the discussion on climate change impacts, livelihood diversification, and deagrarianization in arid and semi-arid regions. Using the semi-arid region of Guinea as a case study, this paper is the first to discuss the primary factors driving smallholder farmers into artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in arid and semi-arid regions. Drawing on in-depth interviews and root-cause analysis, we find that increasing climate change impacts ‘force’ smallholder farmers to switch into artisanal gold mining. Smallholder farming in semi-arid Guinea is largely rainfed and erratic rainfall and increasing temperatures have affected crop production and farmers' income, driving many smallholder farmers into artisanal gold mining to have a more sustainable income. While artisanal gold mining has improved smallholder farmers' socioeconomic conditions, the agriculture exodus has significantly affected crop production, food prices, and rural agriculture labor dynamics. Agroecological, financial, and technical support could improve the adaptive capacity of climate impacted smallholder farmers in arid and semi-arid regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date25 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the community leaders and artisanal miners who participated in the study and shared valuable information. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers whose feedback on initial drafts helped to improve the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Environment
  • Farming
  • Poverty
  • Rural livelihood


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