A LAND SUITABILITY ANALYSIS OF THE VHEMBE DISTRICT, SOUTH AFRICA, THE CASE OF MAIZE AND SORGHUM
- 1Future Earth and Ecosystems Services Research Group, Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, Doornfontein Campus, University of Johannesburg, Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg 2028, Gauteng, South Africa
- 2Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Johannesburg, Corner Siemert and Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa
Keywords: Food security, Land suitability analysis, Maize, Sorghum, Planning
Abstract. Sustainable development goals (SDGs) 1 and 2 stand for “No poverty” and “Zero hunger” respectively. Achieving these goals cannot be separated from promoting sustainable agriculture and ensuring livelihoods, especially for rural communities. This study sought to determine the suitability of land for the cultivation of maize and sorghum crops in Vhembe District, South Africa. The study applied the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the Weighted Linear Combination (WLC), multi-criteria decision-making techniques, for criteria weights calculations and suitability maps calculations respectively within a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. Six criteria were used; Soil pH, Soil Structure, Rainfall, Maximum Temperature, Minimum Temperature and Elevation. A consistency ratio (CR) of 0.035 was obtained for maize criteria weights and 0.036 for sorghum criteria weights. The results revealed that only limited portions of the whole district are highly suitable for the cultivation of Maize with 15.01% and Sorghum with 19.39 of the land arable for farming. This suggests lower maize and sorghum crops yields in the district and the paper recommends more cultivation of other drought resistant crops other than maize and sorghum.