Scaling up research using GIS and WebGIS spatial tools: case study of MicroVeg project
Sustainable intensification of agriculture is a pressing issue for the countries of Benin and Nigeria. Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus L.), solanum (Solanum macrocarpum L.), fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis f. Hooke), and parsley (Ocimum gratissimum L.) have been identified as important indigenous vegetables with the potential to enhance food and household security in West Africa. An international collaboration known as MicroVeg was established in 2015 to scale up the production and consumption of these nutritious vegetables. Traditional agronomic field research has a relatively small spatial footprint; by using a geographic information system (GIS), we expanded the reach of MicroVeg research to a regional scale. A GIS database allows for data to be represented by varying methods and to create larger inference spaces. With GIS, we can use the data to infer areas which are similar to the characteristics of a site. GIS data were stored, analyzed, compared, and extrapolated to infer where scaling up of the MicroVeg agronomic package is likely to be most successful. GIS has enabled this project to expand potential areas from several research sites with an approximate total area of 50 hectares, to a potential extent exceeding 100,000 square kilometres for each crop, independently of seasonal variation. As it is a challenge to disseminate such information to audiences, we developed and implemented an interactive, online, database (termed webGIS) of agronomic trial data designed for use with minimal GIS knowledge. The results of this project will be important for policymakers and agronomists who are scaling up vegetable production in Benin and Nigeria.
Minielly, C.M., Peak, D., Natcher, D. and Zeng, W. (2019). Scaling up research using GIS and WebGIS spatial tools: case study of MicroVeg project. Acta Hortic. 1238, 217-226
spatial mapping, GIS, WebGIS, scaling up