Using Geospatial Information Technology for Rural Agricultural Development Planning in the Nebo Plateau, South Africa

  •  Brilliant Petja    
  •  Edward Nesamvuni    
  •  Albertina Nkoana    


This study uses geospatial technologies (remote sensing and geographic information system) to assess the agricultural potential of the Nebo Plateau, a rural area in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. This approach entails assessing the suitability in terms of land/soil and climate, which are determinant factors for agricultural development. The environmental requirements of selected crops were analyzed using ArcView GIS. Various spatial analysis techniques were used to model and assign classes of suitability based on the most important and yield-limiting parameters such as rainfall, temperature and soil characteristics. Results indicate that the area is potentially suitable to a variety of agricultural commodities where 65% of the area is suitable for cultivation. This is however considerate of environmental and climatic constraints such as the availability of water for irrigation, improvement of the state of the environment, prevention of soil degradation due to erosion and compaction, improvement of soil fertility by means of sound farming and management practices. These outputs are presented within a user friendly GIS platform for a better decision support to the development agencies and government. The results also help to provide inputs for assessing financial feasibility of farming projects. This study therefore emphasizes the importance of geospatial technologies in informing and promoting sustainable agricultural development.

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