AGP - detail

Natural Resource Assessment for Crop and Land Suitability: An application for selected bioenergy crops in Southern Africa region

The pilot regional assessment carried out for Southern Africa and described in this publication was designed to help evaluate the crop and land suitability of bioenergy crops which are also food crops, namely: cassava, sugarcane, sweet sorghum, sunflower and oil palm under rainfed production conditions. By providing critical bioenergy crop adaptability and land resources information, along with extensive maps, to policy-planners and decision-makers for socioeconomic development, it is expected that national policy and development capacity will also be strengthened.

The crop and land suitability assessments provide an up-to-date GIS database for climate, soil, terrain and vegetation information, and includes critical data sets, methodological and analytical support and the integration of FAO’s AEZ methodology, including an inventory of land resources and specific ecological and agronomic adaptability requirements for selected bioenergy crops under the tillage-based production systems and under Conservation Agriculture.

The assessment also enhances and expands the current ECOCROP database and its applications by adding more detailed information on bioenergy crops and using a mapping function to enable countries to better plan and decide on their agricultural strategy with respect to food and bioenergy crops.
This publication seeks to assist government and institutional policy-planners and decision-makers in identifying places where energy crops could be grown and in understanding the geographic (agro-ecological and economic) context of bioenergy supplies, at country and regional levels. It will not only increase awareness about the environmental challenges related to the production systems of bioenergy crops, but will also contribute to the development of new production practices and technologies for sustainable agricultural intensification and diversification in the context of the new FAO 'Save and Grow' paradigm.