A tool for agricultural planning
CONSUS is a GIS-tool for efficiently and strategically planning production and procurement processes in the agricultural marketplace. It assesses the suitability of locations worldwide for specific agricultural products based on geographical, climate, soil, socio-economic and political criteria.
- Identification of potential production locations based on biophysical and socio-economic factors
- Evaluation of economic efficiency (potential yield, costs, trade barriers, subsidies) through analysis of procurement and production alternatives
- Suitability analysis for individual agricultural plants in specific locations
- Assessment of locations based on potential, synergies, productivity, profitability and sustainability
The Tool and underlying Model
CONSUS combines consulting services with components of geographic information systems (GIS), decision support systems, and databases.
The ‘matching’ process compares the requirements of the agricultural species with spatial data and statistical information (Fig.1). The results show the overall suitability, limitations and potential of the selected locations and, with the help of maps and site profiles, form the basis of detailed feasibility studies
CONSUS can be used for any crop, as well as multiple regions and criteria. For detailed analyses, e.g. the effects of climate change, additional modules are available. With the help of this tool, agricultural projects can be assessed for their sustainability in addition to their general suitability.
A site-assessment with CONSUS encompasses the following results:
- Crop-Mapper: Most suitable locations for cocoa production including limitations are shown by means of maps and google-earth-files (kmz-files)
- Suitability Spider: Evaluation of selected areas concerning suitability, limitations and potential for cocoa production
- Report: Presentation of potentials for given crop
The following case studies were/will be carried out in order to apply and test CONSUS in different contexts:
- Global site assessment for hazelnut-production (Climate Suitability for Hazelnut in Europe)
- Soybean production in Rwanda (Climate and Land Suitability for Soybean in Rwanda)
- Avocado production for smallholder farmers in Solalà, Guatemala
- Global site assessment for pine nuts
- Assessing cocoa production in Suriname
Growing pressure on land and other resources poses a risk to the security of supply for agribusinesses and jeopardises the sustainability of agricultural production. The integration of smallholder farmers into the value chain presents an opportunity for agribusinesses and other potential off‐takers to secure future supplies and add ethical value to their products.
In return, farmers in developing countries who choose to enter formal markets gain development opportunities in terms of access to new markets, technology and know‐how.
The establishment of new supply chains involving smallholders poses a number of challenges, however.
Both sides in new commercial relationships may face barriers or uncertainty. A sophisticated planning process is therefore a crucial factor in identifying not only the potential of a future project, but also its limitations, prerequisites and likely impacts with a view to taking the right decisions.
An introduction to the project
CONSUS is implemented by a multidisciplinary team of scientist from fields of agriculture, socioeconomic rural development and geoinformatics.
The project is funded by the Syngenta Foundation of Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), which also acts as a consulting partner and contributes ongoing case studies to the project.