Integrated Multi-criteria Land Suitability Evaluation and Mapping for Scaling Malt Barley Varieties in Rain-Fed Production Areas of Ethiopia

  •  Adamu Molla    
  •  Demeke Nigussie    
  •  Zewdie Bishaw    
  •  Wondafrash Mulugeta    
  •  Chandrashekhar Biradar    


Information on variety specific land suitability analysis was not available in Ethiopia. Therefore, integrated multi-criteria land suitability analysis and mapping for contrasting malt barley varieties was carried out to identify where and how much potentially suitable land exists in the country. The main factors considered for analysis include rainfall and temperature during the growing period, length of growing period, digital elevation models, (altitude and slope data) and soil characteristics (types, pH, depth, texture and drainage). The malt barley varieties included are late maturing Bekoji-1, EH1847 and Holker; and early maturing Grace, IBON 174/03 and Sabini. For classification of the data layers according to the degree of suitability for each variety, various reports and other relevant information were reviewed and used in defining the limits of the suitability ranges of malt barley varieties. The overall suitability was computed by multiplying the selected criteria weight by the assigned sub-criteria score and summing these values in the ArcGIS Model Builder. The analysis showing the extent and patterns of suitable land area available for the selected malt barley varieties are presented in the form of tabular data and maps. Highly suitable areas for these varieties include: 125,332 ha for Bekoji-1; 124,004 ha for EH1847; 775,312 ha for Grace; 125,356 ha for Holker; 1,677,388 ha for IBON 174/03; and 307,952 ha for Sabini. The results suggest that current improved malt barley varieties can be targeted for scaling out in the identified land suitability classes in the highlands of Ethiopia. Results also suggest that future research and development works should give priority for developing early maturing, acidic and waterlogging soil tolerant malt barley varieties. The results can be useful for policy and decision making to ensure land resources are used in the most productive and sustainable ways and solve the mismatches between current land use and land suitability for malt barley varieties in the country.

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