Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) for Sharing Agro-Climatic Information to Improve Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria

Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GDI) for Sharing Agro-Climatic Information to Improve Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria

A. Ayanlade (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria), M. O. Olawole (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria), O. S. Ayanlade (National Centre for Technology Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria) and O. Bolarin (University of Ilorin, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2655-3.ch004

Abstract

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) techniques are increasingly being used in agricultural management to more efficiently support emergency agro-climatic information needed in this century. Although several studies have been carried out on application of GIS and remote sensing for agricultural and rural development in other parts of the world, little research has been done in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of developing geospatial data infrastructure to enhance agricultural practices especially agricultural risk management in this age of climate change. This chapter therefore examines technological aspects of geographic information sharing as a useful platform for sharing information among agricultural agencies in Nigeria and to formulate relevant prescriptions for the future. The study shows how an integrated GIS modeling system can allow agricultural producer as well as policy makers to know the impact of variation in climate from one place/region to another for better management, productivity, and profitability. The study also develops agricultural GDI prototype for agricultural emergency management. This chapter concludes by suggesting that developing country (i.e. African countries) should embark on agricultural policy reform to enhance investment in ICT infrastructure in agricultural production.
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Introduction

Geospatial data plays an important role in decision-making and proper management before, during and after agricultural activities. Most importantly, geospatial data infrastructure is an indispensable means of information to response to the impacts and vulnerability of agricultural production to climate change/variability. A spatial data infrastructure is expected to facilitate and coordinate the exchange and sharing of static and dynamic agro-climatic information between all the agricultural agencies. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote sensing (RS) techniques are the main tools for this means of information sharing (Braun and Pantel, 2004).

GIS is a system specifically designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates. It is therefore both a database system with specific capabilities for spatially referenced data, as well as a platform for analytical operations to work with the data (Kufoniyi and Agbaje, 2005). GIS and RS are increasingly used in agricultural management since they provide tools for more efficient support of emergency agro-climatic information needed in this century. GIS and RS allow for an effective visualization of change in agricultural production which may result from change in climatic situation in a given region (ZhiGong et al., 2009). Therefore, it is evident that geospatial information is now significantly relevant to the agricultural managers for better information sharing not only within the farmers but also essential for all agricultural agencies (Craig 1995; Croswell, 1989; Pandey, 2009; Igbal, 2010). For instance, Igbal (2010) notes that climate variability is a major factor which affecting agricultural practices in the arid region. He observes that application of traditional methods to assess drought impacts on crops production are time consuming and labored intensive. Thus, application of remote sensing and GIS is imperative to the development of agricultural practices in the developing countries.

Though, several studies have been carried out on application of GIS and remote sensing for agricultural and rural development, but little research has been done in the area of developing geospatial data infrastructure to enhance agricultural practices especially agricultural risk management in this age of climate change. Therefore, this chapter aims at examining the technological aspects of geographic information sharing as a useful platform for sharing information among agricultural agencies, taking example from Nigeria and to formulate useful predictions for the future. Major objectives of this chapter are to evaluate mode of data acquisition and information sharing among agricultural agencies; asses the importance of GIS in agro-climatic data capture and information sharing and give a case study of application of GIS for agro-climatic information sharing.

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