By 2030, the world could lose millions of fertile agricultural lands to expanding cities with Asia and Africa accounting for 80 per cent of the total farm losses, a study finds.
Analysing satellite data on croplands and their productivity using year 2000 as the reference point and comparing it with urban area projections for 2030, international researchers found that 30 million hectares of crop lands will be lost to growing cities – an area equivalent to the Philippines. Of this, Asia and Africa will lose 24 million hectares of prime agricultural land.
With cities becoming hubs of economic activity, large-scale changes are expected. However, this is the first study to quantify the effect of urbanisation on crop lands at global, continental, and country levels. The study was carried out by researchers from Austria, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, and United States.