By David Akodi,Vital Signs Uganda
The Vital Signs monitoring system has been collecting and integrating data in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana; to provide decision support tools to policy makers, businesses and farmers to influence development in a way that protects the environment, while also improving human wellbeing.
Intergrating Vital Signs laboratory soils data for Uganda with other climate parameters as described below, the study sought to determine the suitability of agroecological farmlands of Uganda’s West Nile And Northern Moist Farmlands for cassava and banana production.
The parameters used in the suitability analysis included; sum of basic cations, soil pH, soil organic carbon and annual precipitation. Suitability maps for each of the parameters were derived using Geographical Information System (GIS) approach based on weighted overlay analysis in ArcGIS10.2. The cross raster overlay operations were also done in ArcGIS10.2 to combine the physico-chemical suitability and climate suitability maps into the final suitability maps.
Results indicate that cassava is moderately suitable in the greatest percentage of the areas in West Nile and Northern Moist Farmlands (Table 1)
The limitations for cassava are moderate precipitation and soil organic carbon contents. Most of the areas in Lake Victoria Crescent Agro-ecological zone are highly suitable for cassava compared to banana (Table 2). The limitation for banana in this area is marginal soil organic carbon contents.
Vital Signs continues to analyze collected data and produce insights such as more crop suitability tools, relate the distribution of heavy metals to poor performance in schools, link distribution of elements iron and zinc in soils to Iron and Zinc deficiency in children. Unravel the parameters that cause yield gaps in areas having similar soils and climate, and more demand-driven products.