Today’s post will look at the background of modern commercial farming.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UNFAO) 2013, commercial farming do not contribute significantly to global but it plays an important role because approximately 1/3 of the world’s population still works in the agricultural sector.
World agricultural production has also grown on average between 2 – 4% annually since the 1960s, while the cultivated area (permanent cropland and arable land) has grown by only 1% annually. More than 40% of the increase in food production has come from irrigated areas, which have doubled in size.
There is little scope for easy expansion of agricultural land. At present, more than 1.5 billion ha – about 12% of the world’s land – is used for commercial farming. Potentially accessible agricultural land is very unevenly distributed among regions and countries. 90% is located in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa and at the other end of the spectrum; hardly any spare land is available for agricultural expansion in South and Western Asia and Northern Africa.
So far, land and water management systems have been able to meet the rapidly rising demands placed on them. This situation has been made possible through gains in yields resulting from increased use of inputs, technology and irrigation.
However, with world population set to reach 9 billion in 2050, the demand for food and farm produce is also set to increase. Can commercial farming expand to accommodate to this rise in demand? While land and water management systems have been able to meet the demands, the future seems bleak as 28% of arable land lost to land degradation is caused by modern farming and agricultural practices, which commercial farming plays a significant role in.
That will be all to today’s post. The impacts of commercial farming on the environment will be discussed in the subsequent posts.
Stay tune 😀
And check out some interesting statistics on commercial farming and the environment at http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e.PDF