IOP Science : Multicriteria land suitability assessment for growing underutilised crop, bambara groundnut in Pen Malaysia

Latest study by the CropBASE team, "Multicriteria land suitability assessment for growing underutilised crop, bambara groundnut in Peninsular Malaysia", published in IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Vol 169

Co-authored by Tengku Adhwa Syaherah Tengku Mohd Suhairi, Dr Ebrahim Jahanshiri and Nur Marahaini Mohd Nizar.

Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea L.) is a high potential indigenous legume with origins from East Africa. Desirable characteristics such as high tolerance to drought, and a more complete nutritional profile nutritional profile has made this legume, a candidate underutilised crop. Underutilised or forgotten crops play an important role in food and nutrition security, agricultural diversification, minimising environmental impacts and mitigating climate variability. Despite having full potential, Malaysia, with fairly established agricultural industry, is not exploiting bambara groundnut or kacang poi benefits. Malaysia is predicted to face hotter climates in the future which may affect with potential impact on oil palm and rice production. Therefore, research on alternative or complementary crops such as bambara groundnut is relevant. Major challenge that is limiting the full utilisation of this crop is limited knowledge on where it is suitable to grow based on soil and climate conditions. In this study we delineated suitable areas for the bambara groundnut in Malaysia using available soil, climate, land use/land cover and topography factors. The combination of GIS-based Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) with a novel joint soil-climate suitability criteria for bambara groundnut was used in Land Suitability Assessment (LSA) on the areas that are suitable to grow bambara groundnut. Data on soil physical and chemical properties were acquired from ISRIC global soil database. Climate dataset was retrieved from Worldclim which includes monthly temperature and rainfall. The suitability of bambara groundnut was field tested in a highly suitable area (more than 70%) in Semenyih, Malaysia where fresh pod yield of 2.54 MT/ha is reported. The result shows the LSA technique provides an effective assessment tool for land managers and farmers to identify potential areas for potential underutilised crops in agriculture to support Malaysian agriculture.
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