World Agricultural Area, 1961-2016 (in hectares)

World Agricultural Area, 1961-2016

Source: FAO. Note: Agricultural area is the sum of areas under Arable land and Permanent crops and Permanent pastures.

About 37% of the world’s land is devoted to agriculture. Up to the 21st century, the world’s agricultural surface (crops and pastures) was growing at a rate much lower than the world’s population. While agricultural areas grew by about 11% between 1960 and 2000, the global population doubled (from 3.0 to 6.1 billion). This implied that agricultural yields were steadily improving. However, since 2000, the global agricultural surface has leveled and started to decline. A part of this decline is linked with the expansion of urban areas, which is often at the expense of the most productive agricultural areas. The share of pastures has remained stable at about 68% of all agricultural land.