GIS based multi criteria evaluation to identify suitable growing areas for a new cotton variety, SZ9314. A case study of Kamwenge district.
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Land suitability analysis is a method of land evaluation, which measures the degree of appropriateness of land for a certain use. Land suitability analysis is a prerequisite to achieving optimum utilization of the available land resources. The aim of this study was to identify and delineate suitable areas for SZ9314 cotton variety based on physical and climatic factors of production using a Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) & GIS approach. The study was carried out in Kamwenge district in Uganda. Biophysical variables of soil, climate and topography were considered for suitability analysis. Agriculture is the mainstay of local economy in the study area, but the production is very low because some of the cotton varieties being introduced are not doing well. There was need therefore to identify and delineate suitable areas for growing SZ9314 cotton variety to achieve maximum potential yield. Three suitability criteria i.e. soil (PH, texture, depth, drainage), climate (rainfall, temperature) and topography were evaluated based on agronomist experts opinions and FAO guideline for agriculture. All data were stored in ArcGIS 10.3 environment and the factor maps were generated. For MCE, Pair wise Comparison Matrix was applied and the suitable areas for SZ9314 cotton variety were generated and graduated. AHP with the integration of GIS-based multi-criterion decision making, an approach using DEM was utilized to evaluate land suitability for agriculture production in Kamwenge district. Various ‘expert opinions’ were used to assign importance of the selected parameters and pair wise comparison matrix was used to establish the weights. Finally, the land cover map was overlaid with the suitability map to identify variances between the present and potential land use of Kamwenge district. The results of this research revealed that, 35.16 % area is classified as highly suitable, 34.44% as marginally suitable, 22.72 % as suitable, and 7.68 % as non-suitable for the growing of SZ9314 cotton variety. The results showed that the potential area for SZ9314 cotton growing is 81796 ha .The techniques, methodology and results of the study can be effective to assess the suitable land for cotton growing and agriculture in Kamwenge district.