A spatial assessment of land suitability for maize farming in Kenya

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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Many developing nations are faced with severe food insecurity partly because of their overdependence on rainfed agriculture. In Kenya, climate system variations that impact staple food crops like maize ultimately threaten the nation’s food security. This study applied analytical hierarchy process, a multi-criteria decision-making technique, and remote sensing, performed within a Geographic Information Systems framework, in developing a land suitability model for maize farming in Kenya under the changing climatic conditions. Levels of suitability were delineated using soil, climate and topographic variables. Local farmers’ knowledge was also incorporated to propose context-specific climate change adaptation practices in agriculture. The study revealed that majority (55.6%) of the land is marginally suitable. Significant changes in weather and climate were also revealed, and these generally translated to lower maize crop yields. Finally, diversification, proper timing, soil fertility retention and restoration and better-quality seeds were found to be the most practical adaptation measures.

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Geocarto International

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