Chad Table of Contents
At the time of the French conquest, rice was grown on a small scale. Before World War I, the Germans on the Cameroon side of the Logone River encouraged the spread of rice cultivation. By World War II, the French imposed cultivation in the areas of southern Chad near Laï and Kélo, along the Logone River. Although production was destined originally for colonial troops, the taste for rice spread in some localities. What was originally intended by the French as a commercial cash crop had become a local subsistence crop by the 1980s.
The Development Office for Sategui Deressia (Office de Mise en Valeur de Sategui-Deressia--OMVSD), founded in 1976, replaced Experimental Sectors for Agricultural Modernization (Secteurs Expérimentaux de Modernisation Agricole--SEMAA), originally responsible for the organization, improvement, transformation, and commercialization of rice. Efforts by these organizations to extend commercial rice cultivation had mixed results. The area under rice cultivation has increased since the 1950s. Yet even in the 1980s, the greater part of this area was cultivated by traditional means. Schemes for controlled paddies at Bongor and Laï put only 3,500 hectares and 1,800 hectares, respectively, into cultivation before political events of the late 1970s and early 1980s disrupted efforts and international donor funding ceased. The bulk of rice production from traditional floodwater paddies was traded to the towns and cities or was consumed locally.
Corn was a crop of minor importance, grown in and around village gardens for local consumption. Production from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s remained in the 20,000- to 30,000-ton range. By 1987 no efforts at commercialization had been made, nor had the government tried to improve and extend corn production.
Data as of December 1988