Spatial Production Allocation Model for Country studies (SPAM-C)

Physical maize area in Southern African maize: 2000-2010. (a) Spatially explicit maize area and (b) maize area by country. Maize area is the sum of four farming systems

Detailed information on the location of crops is essential to inform national food and agricultural policies. Although, there are several initiatives to produce global crop distribution maps, these are generally too coarse for detailed country assessments, which require higher resolution products and the flexibility to subsume more detailed information from national sources. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate an approach to create plausible spatial estimates of crop area for seven countries in Southern Africa at a higher resolution than the current existing global maps and spanning multiple years. The Spatial Production Allocation Model for Country studies (SPAM-C) uses an optimization approach to allocate national and subnational crop statistics for four farming systems, informed by spatial information on both biophysical and economic drivers of crop location. To account for missing and incomplete agricultural statistics, the model also incorporates detailed information on the location of large estates from OpenStreetMap. The crop distribution maps can be used to support regional crop monitoring systems and inform national assessments of food security under socio-economic and climate change.

Project members:

  • Michiel van Dijk, Wageningen Economic Research, the Hague, the Netherlands
  • Yating Ru, Ulrike Wood-Sichra, Liangzhi You, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, USA
  • Amanda Palazzo, Petr Havlik, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
Michiel van Dijk
Michiel van Dijk
Senior researcher

Wageningen Economic Research