Land degradation unmasked as the key constraint in sunflower (Helianthus annus) production: Role of GIS in revitalizing this vital sector

Published on 13th October, 2023

Journal:Cogent Food & Agriculture  


Emmanuely Z. Nungula, Jayne Mugwe, Jamal Nasar, Boniface H. J. Massawe, Anne N. Karuma, Sagar Maitra, Mahmoud F. Seleiman, Turgay Dindaroglu, Naeem Khan & Harun I. Gitari


In Tanzania, land degradation has been ranked as the top environmental problem for more than 62 years after independence. Land degradation is a catalyst for poverty increment in rural people’s livelihoods by contributing up to a 48% increase in poverty of this population. This paper highlights land degradation as a key constraint to sunflower production while looking at the potential role of Geographic Information System (GIS) in revitalizing the sector. The review focuses on Tanzania, where sunflower production is done mainly by smallholder farmers as a cash crop and a source of vegetable oil. Sunflower production is threatened by land degradation in the form of nutrient mining that decreases the fertility of the soil, hence lowering its potential. Such degradation is mainly contributed to by continuous crop cultivation without replenishment of the soil fertility, crop removal after harvesting, and low fertilizer input. This calls for the adoption of modern systems of utilizing GIS, in assessing the suitability potential of the land giving the best decision in managing and adopting the right soil management practices for increasing and sustaining the productivity of the farmland concerning sunflower production in Tanzania.

Subjects: Agriculture & Environmental Sciences; Soil Sciences; Nutrition

Keywords: Tanzania; declining soil fertility; integrated soil fertility management; land suitability assessment; GIS-based land evaluation