Arable land (hectares per person) - Country Ranking

Definition: Arable land (hectares per person) 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.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, electronic files and web site.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Australia 1.94 2015
2 Kazakhstan 1.68 2015
3 Canada 1.22 2015
4 Argentina 0.90 2015
5 Russia 0.85 2015
6 Niger 0.84 2015
7 Lithuania 0.75 2015
8 Paraguay 0.72 2015
9 Ukraine 0.72 2015
10 Uruguay 0.70 2015
11 Latvia 0.62 2015
12 Belarus 0.60 2015
13 Guyana 0.55 2015
14 Moldova 0.51 2015
15 Estonia 0.51 2015
16 Bulgaria 0.49 2015
17 United States 0.47 2015
18 Hungary 0.45 2015
19 Romania 0.44 2015
20 Bolivia 0.42 2015
21 Denmark 0.41 2015
22 Finland 0.41 2015
23 Central African Republic 0.40 2015
24 Brazil 0.39 2015
25 Sudan 0.39 2014
26 Mali 0.37 2015
27 Iceland 0.37 2015
28 Serbia 0.37 2015
29 Togo 0.36 2015
30 Chad 0.35 2015
31 Turkmenistan 0.35 2015
32 Burkina Faso 0.33 2015
33 Namibia 0.33 2015
34 Czech Republic 0.30 2015
35 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.29 2015
36 Poland 0.29 2015
37 France 0.28 2015
38 Libya 0.28 2015
39 Cameroon 0.27 2015
40 Spain 0.27 2015
41 Turkey 0.26 2015
42 Sweden 0.26 2015
43 Cuba 0.26 2015
44 Tunisia 0.26 2015
45 Guinea 0.26 2015
46 Benin 0.26 2015
47 Slovak Republic 0.25 2015
48 Zimbabwe 0.25 2015
49 Tanzania 0.25 2015
50 Syrian Arab Republic 0.25 2015
51 Nicaragua 0.25 2015
52 Cambodia 0.24 2015
53 Thailand 0.24 2015
54 Zambia 0.24 2015
55 Morocco 0.23 2015
56 Afghanistan 0.23 2015
57 Lao PDR 0.23 2015
58 South Africa 0.23 2015
59 The Gambia 0.22 2015
60 Ireland 0.22 2015
61 Sierra Leone 0.22 2015
62 Belize 0.22 2015
63 Malawi 0.22 2015
64 Kyrgyz Republic 0.21 2015
65 Senegal 0.21 2015
66 Albania 0.21 2015
67 Myanmar 0.21 2015
68 Greece 0.21 2015
69 Mozambique 0.20 2015
70 Azerbaijan 0.20 2015
71 Croatia 0.20 2015
72 Macedonia 0.20 2015
73 Mongolia 0.19 2015
74 Nigeria 0.19 2015
75 Algeria 0.19 2015
76 Iran 0.19 2015
77 Fiji 0.18 2015
78 Mexico 0.18 2015
79 Botswana 0.18 2015
80 Angola 0.18 2015
81 Uganda 0.17 2015
82 Ghana 0.17 2015
83 Guinea-Bissau 0.17 2015
84 Tonga 0.17 2015
85 Gabon 0.17 2015
86 Pakistan 0.16 2015
87 Austria 0.16 2015
88 Norway 0.16 2015
89 Eritrea 0.15 2011
90 Armenia 0.15 2015
91 Ethiopia 0.15 2015
92 Germany 0.15 2015
93 Madagascar 0.14 2015
94 Panama 0.14 2015
95 Uzbekistan 0.14 2015
96 Iraq 0.14 2015
97 Swaziland 0.13 2015
98 Peru 0.13 2015
99 New Zealand 0.13 2015
100 Bhutan 0.13 2015
101 Côte d'Ivoire 0.13 2015
102 Lesotho 0.13 2015
103 Timor-Leste 0.12 2015
104 Kenya 0.12 2015
105 Georgia 0.12 2015
106 India 0.12 2015
107 El Salvador 0.12 2015
108 Burundi 0.12 2015
109 Suriname 0.12 2015
110 Honduras 0.11 2015
111 Liberia 0.11 2015
112 Saudi Arabia 0.11 2015
113 Luxembourg 0.11 2015
114 Congo 0.11 2015
115 Portugal 0.11 2015
116 Italy 0.11 2015
117 Mauritania 0.11 2015
118 Equatorial Guinea 0.10 2015
119 Haiti 0.10 2015
120 Rwanda 0.10 2015
121 Cabo Verde 0.09 2015
122 Dem. Rep. Congo 0.09 2015
123 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 0.09 2015
124 United Kingdom 0.09 2015
125 St. Kitts and Nevis 0.09 2015
126 Indonesia 0.09 2015
127 Slovenia 0.09 2015
128 China 0.09 2015
129 Venezuela 0.09 2015
130 Tajikistan 0.09 2015
131 Cyprus 0.09 2015
132 Comoros 0.08 2015
133 Dominica 0.08 2015
134 Somalia 0.08 2015
135 Vietnam 0.08 2015
136 Dominican Republic 0.08 2015
137 Vanuatu 0.08 2015
138 Chile 0.07 2015
139 Nepal 0.07 2015
140 Belgium 0.07 2015
141 Ecuador 0.07 2015
142 Sri Lanka 0.06 2015
143 Netherlands 0.06 2015
144 Mauritius 0.06 2015
145 Liechtenstein 0.06 2015
146 Guatemala 0.06 2015
147 Philippines 0.05 2015
148 Costa Rica 0.05 2015
149 Bangladesh 0.05 2015
150 Switzerland 0.05 2015
151 Palau 0.05 2015
152 Yemen 0.05 2015
153 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 0.05 2015
154 São Tomé and Principe 0.04 2015
155 Jamaica 0.04 2015
156 Samoa 0.04 2015
157 Antigua and Barbuda 0.04 2015
158 Barbados 0.04 2015
159 Papua New Guinea 0.04 2015
160 Israel 0.04 2015
161 Colombia 0.04 2015
162 Solomon Islands 0.03 2015
163 Japan 0.03 2015
164 Malaysia 0.03 2015
165 Egypt 0.03 2015
166 San Marino 0.03 2015
167 Korea 0.03 2015
168 Grenada 0.03 2015
169 Jordan 0.02 2015
170 New Caledonia 0.02 2015
171 Lebanon 0.02 2015
172 Malta 0.02 2015
173 The Bahamas 0.02 2015
174 Trinidad and Tobago 0.02 2015
175 Kiribati 0.02 2015
176 Puerto Rico 0.02 2015
177 St. Lucia 0.02 2015
178 Greenland 0.02 2015
179 Montenegro 0.01 2015
180 Brunei 0.01 2015
181 Andorra 0.01 2015
182 Oman 0.01 2015
183 Qatar 0.01 2015
184 United Arab Emirates 0.00 2015
185 Cayman Islands 0.00 2015
186 Djibouti 0.00 2015
187 Kuwait 0.00 2015
188 Seychelles 0.00 2015
189 Bahrain 0.00 2015
190 Hong Kong SAR, China 0.00 2015
191 Singapore 0.00 2015

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Development Relevance: Agricultural land covers about one-third of the world's land area, with arable land representing less than one-third of agricultural land (about 10 percent of the world's land area). 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. 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. Poor farming practices can cause soil erosion and loss of soil fertility. Efforts to increase productivity by using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and intensive irrigation have environmental costs and health impacts. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers can alter the chemistry of soil. Pesticide poisoning is common in developing countries. And salinization of irrigated land diminishes soil fertility. Thus, inappropriate use of inputs for agricultural production has far-reaching effects. There is significant geographic variation in the availability of land considered suitable for agriculture. Increasing population and demand from other sectors place growing pressure on available resources. According to FAO, the world's cultivated area has grown by 12 percent over the last 50 years. The global irrigated area has doubled over the same period, accounting for most of the net increase in cultivated land. Agriculture already uses 11 percent of the world's land surface for crop production. It also makes use of 70 percent of all water withdrawn from aquifers, streams and lakes. Agricultural policies have primarily benefitted farmers with productive land and access to water, bypassing the majority of small-scale producers who are still locked in a poverty trap of high vulnerability, land degradation and climatic uncertainty. 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. Land resources are central to agriculture and rural development, and are intrinsically linked to global challenges of food insecurity and poverty, climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as degradation and depletion of natural resources that affect the livelihoods of millions of rural people across the world. 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.

Limitations and Exceptions: The Food and Agriculture Organization (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. True comparability of the data is limited, by variations in definitions, statistical methods, and quality of data. Countries use different definitions land use. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the primary compiler of the data, occasionally adjusts its definitions of land use categories and revises earlier data. Because the data reflect changes in reporting procedures as well as actual changes in land use, apparent trends should be interpreted cautiously. Satellite images show land use that differs from that of ground-based measures in area under cultivation and type of land use. Moreover, land use data in some countries (India is an example) are based on reporting systems designed for collecting tax revenue. With land taxes no longer a major source of government revenue, the quality and coverage of land use data have declined.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Temporary fallow land refers to land left fallow for less than five years. The abandoned land resulting from shifting cultivation is not included in this category. Data for "Arable land" are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable. The data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations 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.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual