Agricultural machinery, tractors per 100 sq. km of arable land
Definition: Agricultural machinery refers to the number of wheel and crawler tractors (excluding garden tractors) in use in agriculture at the end of the calendar year specified or during the first quarter of the following year. Arable land includes land defined by the FAO as land under temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted once), temporary meadows for mowing or for pasture, land under market or kitchen gardens, and land temporarily fallow. Land abandoned as a result of shifting cultivation is excluded.
Description: The map below shows how Agricultural machinery, tractors per 100 sq. km of arable land varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Slovenia, with a value of 5,895.23. The country with the lowest value in the world is Niger, with a value of 0.09.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, electronic files and web site.
Development Relevance: Agricultural land covers more than one-third of the world's land area. In many industrialized countries, agricultural land is subject to zoning regulations. In the context of zoning, agricultural land (or more properly agriculturally zoned land) refers to plots that may be used for agricultural activities, regardless of the physical type or quality of land. A substantial contribution to agriculture in the last century has been the escalation from manual and stock-animal farm work to gas-powered farm equipment. Globally, steel plows, mowers, mechanical reapers, seed drills, and threshers contributed to the development of mechanized agriculture, tractors enabled the farmer to sow and harvest large agricultural lands with less manpower. In modern times, powered machinery such as tractors, has replaced many jobs formerly carried out by men or animals such as oxen, horses and mules. FAO estimates that most farmers in developing countries experience a greater annual expenditure on farm power inputs than on fertilizer, seeds or agrochemicals. Agriculture is still a major sector in many economies, and agricultural activities provide developing countries with food and revenue. But agricultural activities also can degrade natural resources as poor farming practices cause soil erosion and loss of soil fertility. There is no single correct mix of inputs to the agricultural land, as it is dependent on local climate, land quality, and economic development; appropriate levels and application rates vary by country and over time and depend on the type of crops, the climate and soils, and the production process used.
Limitations and Exceptions: The data are collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through annual questionnaires. The FAO tries to impose standard definitions and reporting methods, but complete consistency across countries and over time is not possible. Thus, data on agricultural land in different climates may not be comparable. For example, permanent pastures are quite different in nature and intensity in African countries and dry Middle Eastern countries. Data on agricultural employment, in particular, should be used with caution. In many countries much agricultural employment is informal and unrecorded, including substantial work performed by women and children. To address some of these concerns, this indicator is heavily footnoted in the database in sources, definition, and coverage. The data collected from official national sources through the questionnaire are supplemented with information from official secondary data sources. The secondary sources cover official country data from websites of national ministries, national publications and related country data reported by various international organizations.
Statistical Concept and Methodology: A tractor provides the power and traction to mechanize agricultural tasks, especially tillage. Agricultural implements may be towed behind or mounted on the tractor, and the tractor may also provide a source of power if the implement is mechanized. The most common use of the term "tractor" is for the vehicles used on farms. The farm tractor is used for pulling or pushing agricultural machinery or trailers, for plowing, tilling, disking, harrowing, planting, and similar tasks. Planting, tending and harvesting a crop requires both a significant amount of power and a suitable range of tools and equipment. Mechanization of farming has allowed an increase to the area that can be planted and has contributed towards increased yields, mainly due to the precision with which the farming tasks can be accomplished. Agricultural land constitutes only a part of any country's total area, which can include areas not suitable for agriculture, such as forests, mountains, and inland water bodies. Data on agricultural land are valuable for conducting studies on a various perspectives concerning agricultural production, food security and for deriving cropping intensity among others uses. Agricultural land indicator, along with land-use indicators, can also elucidate the environmental sustainability of countries' agricultural practices.
Aggregation method: Weighted average