Assessment Of Urban Encroachment On Agricultural Land

Project and Seminar Material for Geography

Assessment Of Urban Encroachment On Agricultural Land


Urban expansion constitutes one of the key agents of land use change with the impact felt at local, regional and global levels, such impact include spatial growth on agricultural land. This study assesses urban encroachment on agricultural land in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information techniques. Three imageries of LandSat TM 1990, LandSat ETM 1999 and Nigeria Sat X 2014 used processed, classified using supervised classification, and analyzed in Erdas Imagine 9.2 and ArcGIS 10.1 environment to assess the total spatial loss of agricultural land to urban expansion. Built – up and Agricultural land were extracted from the imageries and the spatial growth and loss within the study period was established.

The findings revealed that the study area witnessed a significant reduction and increase in agricultural land and built – up respectively. Agricultural land occupying the highest coverage of 148.63 km² (65.36%) in 1990 decreased to 107.18 km² (47.14%) in 2014. The total spatial loss was 41.45 km² (27.89%) at an annual rate of 1.73 km² within the same period. While the built-up area expanded from 17.5km² in 1990 to 65.09 km² in 2014, total spatial change of 47.52 km² (270.40%) was experienced with at annual rate of 1.98 km² (11.27%) within the study period (1990 – 2014).

The comparison of these results shows that 43.50 km² (19.13%) of agricultural land in the study area was lost to urban expansion within the study period at an annual conversion rate of 1.81 km². From the foregoing, it is recommended that urban spreading to agriculture land should be controlled as this will have serious repercussions on food security, although urban expansion cannot be stopped, but with proper management and planning it can be directed in a desirable and sustainable way.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

The world is rapidly urbanizing, and it has witnessed a tremendous shift of its population from being predominantly rural to predominantly urban in the last two decades (De Sherbinin, 2007). The world’s population is estimated to be 7.01 billion and by the year 2030, more than 60% of this population will be living in urban areas especially in developing countries, consuming close to three-quarters of the world‟s natural resources, and generating three quarters of its pollution and wastes (Peters, 2000; Redman and Jones, 2005). This growth will require unprecedented investment in new infrastructure and create serious challenges for political and social institutions. Rapid expansion of urban centers in the world at large and specifically in developing countries has continued to pose great challenges such that evokes interests from ecologists, planners, civil engineers, sociologists, administrators and policy makers on how much expansion is taking place, the effects on agricultural land and possible solution. It serves as a strong agent of land use/land cover change, hence loss of agricultural land (Olawole, Msimanga, Adegboyega, and Adeshina, 2011), and equally contributes to development; a requirement for and a result of economic, cultural and social development, as well as engines of economic growth and poverty alleviation (World Bank, 2009).Remote Sensing offers multiple advantages of wider coverage, long time series of data acquisition which facilitates monitoring and relatively low cost per square kilometre compared to other means of acquiring data (Hastings, 2002). Direct observation and/or interviews with the users in the field represent the most accurate means of collecting detailed information on land cover/use. However, this approach is costly especially when the region of interest is large (Hastings, 2002). Landsat Remote sensing images will be used in this project to monitor how urban developments have been affecting agricultural land in Offa Local Government Area.

1.1 Problem Statement

As the country’s population increases it calls for more food production in order to feed the increasing number of people. Unfortunately land is not increasing so we need to utilize the available land in a sustainable manner.

In Offa Local Government Area, encroachment of urban settlements on agricultural land is increasing at an alarming rate. This is due to its proximity to the Ilorin, tracts of land that were previously under coffee plantations and other crops are now characterised by residential estates posing a threat to agricultural production. Multi billions real estate projects are being built while uprooting coffee which once used to be the biggest economic crop.
Those with medium pieces of land are converting from agricultural to residential or commercial use and subdividing them into small portions taking advantage of the increased land prices. Majority of middle class Nigerian prefer to buy this land and build homes away from the noisy and polluted city into the outskirts. This has resulted to subdivision of Agricultural land into small size plots that are uneconomical for farming.

There is need to analyse the Urban Sprawl in Offa Local Government Area and develop strategies on how mitigation measures can be carried out.

1.2 Objectives General Objective

1. To analyse the effects of urban sprawl on agricultural land in Offa Local Government Area.

Specific Objectives
  1. To use Satellite Remote Sensing Technology to delineate Land cover/ use in Offa Local Government Area.
  2. To map urban development in the sub county.
  3. To determine size, rate and direction of the urban development in the sub-county.

1.3 Justification for the Study

This project will be useful to the policy makers in making decisions especially concerning, zoning in land use planning and protecting of agricultural land. It will also generate knowledge to the general public in terms of investing and future trends in property markets.

1.4 Scope of Work

The project aims at using Landsat satellite imagery to analyse effects of urban sprawl on Agricultural land in Offa Local Government Area. Landsat images, Geographic information system (GIS) and Global positioning System (GPS) will be used to acquire, process analyse and present data. Landsat images of three epochs taken in 1988, 2000 and 2016 will be used to analyse the trends of urban development. Most of the developments in the sub-county occurred from 1990s, hence there is need to study the area before and after the developments.

The project will be limited to the change in spatial extent of urban areas and agricultural land in general. This is especially because with 30m resolution Landsat imagery it may not be possible discriminate small land use activities.

Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendations

The main objective of the study was to analyse the effects of urban encroachment on agricultural land in Offa Local Government Area and have been achieved. Availability of Landsat images on the USGS web site at low cost assisted in reducing the cost of the project. Satellite remote sensing technology was used to delineate land Cover/ Use in the sub county for three epochs. From these images it is possible to understand the major land cover/use in the sub county and detect any positive or negative change. For example, the classified images show spatial extent reduction in coffee plantations and increase in settlements or built up areas. These results are useful to the policy makers in making decisions.

Large area views on Landsat images are quite informative as they provide a complete spatial view which is virtually impossible to obtain with ground survey data. To obtain data using ground survey takes time and is costly. In remote sensing only training data and ground truth data are collected directly from the ground and it is possible to get them from other secondary sources.

The amount of urban sprawl increased by 2080 hectares from 1988 to 2016.In 1988 we had clustered settlements which are villages where the natives lived. These clustered settlements have increased radially, which may have been brought about by mainly population increase. Again there were no settlements along the roads before 1988, but we find linear settlements along the roads from 1988 to 2016. Considerable increase in urban settlements has taken place in the expense of agricultural land.

It was noted from the study that the direction of the sprawl was along the roads. These roads emanated from the Nairobi City and it was likely for it to flow to the neighbouring sub counties which are Limuru and Kabete. Another direction of urban sprawl was towards the upper part of the Sub County which currently has large plantations.
The rate of change was found to be 77 hectares per year between 1988 and 2000. The rate reduced to 72 hectares per year between 2000 and 2016. The rate of sprawl was not high as expected, the 2009 census showed Offa Local Government Area ranked second highest in population density. This combined with huge developments on the ground one would expect a high rate of sprawl. The reduction in the rate of sprawl may be due to lack of suitable area for settlement or due to the high increase in land prices in the study area.

Post classification change detection method proved to be an effective way of detecting change in urban sprawl. It was also noted that the final accuracy largely depends on the classification technique used. Remote sensing has proved to be efficient and effective way of collecting, processing and analysing data.

5.1. Recommendations

The government should incorporate use of remote sensing and GIS in its entire sectors to enhance data sharing. County governments should also consider using Remote Sensing and GIS technologies to monitor Land cover/ use changes.

There is need for an up to date zoning system for ensuring efficiency in granting construction permits and approving or rejecting construction proposal. Developing this system can be done using remote sensing and GIS technologies, by obtaining valuable information necessary for planning.

Low detailed image resolution prevents clear delineation of land use classes, therefore high resolution images though expensive will produce better results.

For sustainability of agricultural activities measures need be taken on management and conservation of the existing land.

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