Mapping the cereal yield potential of currently uncultivated agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa


Increase of food production is needed in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to match the steep growth of population and achieve food self-sufficiency. Food production can be increased through intensification of crop production by narrowing the gap between current farm yield and yield potential (i.e., the so called yield gap). However, it seems unavoidable that next to intensification also expansion of agricultural land is required, as for most SSA countries intensification through yield gap closure is not sufficient to achieve food self-sufficiency. Whilst for current cereal areas the yield potentials are extensively modelled (see, for area not under cultivation this is not yet the case, while this would provide interesting information for strategic policy decisions and future impact studies. Depending on the work, the first focus will be on a country in East Africa (either Tanzania, Ethiopia or Kenya), possibly extended to other countries. 

The objective of this MSc study is to assess the yield potential of cereal crops in SSA on newly cultivated land. To fulfil the objective you will assess which land is most suitable for cereal cropping, and next you will map the yield potential of this land. 


Preferably some experience with a GIS software (such as arcGIS or QGIS) and/or a programming language such as R. Interest in modeling. 

Location and period

Wageningen; 2019, starting date is flexible


Marloes van Loon           0317 – 482141    
Renske Hijbeek              0317 – 482141