Monday, January 9, 2017

Ag Futures: Urbanisation to cost China 9% of its crop output

From Agrimoney:
China's urbanisation drive this century will cost it nearly 9% of its crop output by 2030 - with the loss in Egypt more than one-third, a reflection of the pace at which cities are swallowing up productive land.

The world will in the first 30 years of this century lose some 30m square kilometres of arable land to urbanisation, an area equivalent to the size of Italy, or to that of the key US Corn Belt states of Illinois and Iowa combined, an academic paper said.
"In most parts of the world, urban land is expanding faster than urban populations," the paper, from nine researchers in institutions ranging from US-based Texas A&M University to New Zealand's Canterbury University.
"Whereas urban populations are expected to almost double from 2.6bn in 2000 to 5bn in 2030, urban areas are forecast to triple between 2000 and 2030."
'Acute impacts'
While that loss – which excludes 16m hectares of urban land viewed as being kept on in agriculture - is equivalent to 1.8-2.4% of world arable land, its impact on harvests will be greater, given that the city growth will occur predominantly on higher-yielding land.
"Urban expansion is expected to take place on cropland that is 1.77 times more productive than the global average," said the paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
"More than 60% of the world's irrigated croplands are located near urban areas, highlighting the potential competition for land between agricultural and urban uses."
And with the loss of land focused on a few areas, notably in Africa and Asia, "regional impacts will be acute".
'Threat to crop production'
China alone will lose 7.6m hectares of cropland, equivalent to 5.4% of domestic arable area - but enough to cut crop output by 8.7% given that city growth is coming at the expense of relatively productive land.
 "Urban expansion in China is taking place in the country's most productive farmland and over large areas," the researchers said....MORE