Arable land (% of land area) - Country Ranking

Definition: 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.

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

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Bangladesh 59.65 2016
2 Ukraine 56.58 2016
3 Denmark 56.56 2016
4 Moldova 55.56 2016
5 India 52.62 2016
6 Togo 48.72 2016
7 Hungary 47.76 2016
8 Burundi 46.73 2016
9 Rwanda 46.68 2016
10 The Gambia 43.48 2016
11 Malawi 40.31 2016
12 Pakistan 40.27 2016
13 Haiti 38.82 2016
14 Nigeria 37.33 2016
15 Romania 37.30 2016
16 Mauritius 36.95 2016
17 El Salvador 35.57 2016
18 Poland 35.29 2016
19 Comoros 34.93 2016
20 Uganda 34.41 2016
21 Lithuania 34.20 2016
22 Germany 33.67 2016
23 France 33.52 2016
24 Thailand 32.90 2016
25 Czech Republic 32.30 2016
26 Bulgaria 32.20 2016
27 Netherlands 30.51 2016
28 Serbia 29.71 2016
29 Cuba 28.74 2016
30 Malta 28.34 2016
31 Belgium 28.05 2016
32 Slovak Republic 28.02 2016
33 Belarus 28.00 2016
34 Turkey 26.48 2016
35 Luxembourg 25.46 2016
36 Syrian Arab Republic 25.39 2016
37 Tonga 25.00 2016
38 United Kingdom 24.91 2016
39 Spain 24.70 2016
40 Azerbaijan 24.18 2016
41 Benin 23.94 2016
42 Albania 22.64 2016
43 Vietnam 22.57 2016
44 Italy 22.45 2016
45 Sierra Leone 21.95 2016
46 Burkina Faso 21.93 2016
47 Cambodia 21.53 2016
48 Sri Lanka 20.73 2016
49 Latvia 20.71 2016
50 Ghana 20.66 2016
51 Bosnia and Herzegovina 20.04 2016
52 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 19.52 2016
53 St. Kitts and Nevis 19.23 2016
54 Philippines 18.75 2016
55 Tunisia 18.67 2016
56 Morocco 18.22 2016
57 Myanmar 16.70 2016
58 San Marino 16.67 2016
59 United States 16.65 2016
60 Senegal 16.62 2016
61 Greece 16.60 2016
62 Dominican Republic 16.56 2016
63 North Macedonia 16.49 2016
64 Austria 16.29 2016
65 Barbados 16.28 2016
66 Estonia 16.01 2016
67 Armenia 15.68 2016
68 Croatia 15.58 2016
69 Tanzania 15.24 2016
70 Ethiopia 15.12 2016
71 Nepal 14.75 2016
72 Korea 14.58 2016
73 Argentina 14.32 2016
74 Uruguay 13.77 2016
75 Israel 13.63 2016
76 Liechtenstein 13.50 2016
77 Niger 13.26 2016
78 Cameroon 13.12 2016
79 Indonesia 12.97 2016
80 Lebanon 12.90 2016
81 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12.82 2016
82 China 12.66 2016
83 Guinea 12.62 2016
84 Nicaragua 12.50 2016
85 Cabo Verde 12.41 2016
86 Paraguay 12.08 2016
87 Afghanistan 11.84 2016
88 Mexico 11.61 2016
89 Lesotho 11.59 2016
90 Iraq 11.52 2016
91 Japan 11.48 2016
92 Jamaica 11.08 2016
93 Kazakhstan 10.89 2016
94 Portugal 10.68 2016
95 Guinea-Bissau 10.67 2016
96 Timor-Leste 10.42 2016
97 Uzbekistan 10.34 2016
98 Zimbabwe 10.34 2016
99 South Africa 10.30 2016
100 Kenya 10.19 2016
101 Eswatini 10.17 2016
102 Switzerland 10.09 2016
103 Brazil 9.69 2016
104 Cyprus 9.16 2016
105 Slovenia 9.13 2016
106 Côte d'Ivoire 9.12 2016
107 Honduras 9.12 2016
108 Antigua and Barbuda 9.09 2016
109 São Tomé and Principe 9.06 2016
110 Fiji 9.03 2016
111 Iran 9.02 2016
112 Grenada 8.82 2016
113 Guatemala 8.04 2016
114 Dominica 8.00 2016
115 Panama 7.57 2016
116 Russia 7.52 2016
117 Finland 7.39 2016
118 Mozambique 7.18 2016
119 Puerto Rico 6.88 2016
120 Eritrea 6.83 2016
121 Kyrgyz Republic 6.72 2016
122 Lao PDR 6.61 2016
123 Ireland 6.47 2016
124 Sweden 6.32 2016
125 Madagascar 6.02 2016
126 Australia 5.99 2016
127 Tajikistan 5.26 2016
128 Mali 5.25 2016
129 Liberia 5.19 2016
130 Zambia 5.11 2016
131 Georgia 4.95 2016
132 St. Lucia 4.92 2016
133 Trinidad and Tobago 4.87 2016
134 Costa Rica 4.85 2016
135 Canada 4.81 2016
136 Equatorial Guinea 4.28 2016
137 Turkmenistan 4.13 2016
138 Bolivia 4.11 2016
139 Angola 3.93 2016
140 Ecuador 3.93 2016
141 Chad 3.89 2016
142 Belize 3.42 2016
143 Dem. Rep. Congo 3.13 2016
144 Algeria 3.11 2016
145 Venezuela 3.06 2016
146 Central African Republic 2.89 2016
147 Hong Kong SAR, China 2.86 2016
148 Samoa 2.83 2016
149 Egypt 2.80 2016
150 Peru 2.74 2016
151 Malaysia 2.68 2016
152 Jordan 2.67 2016
153 Bhutan 2.62 2016
154 Kiribati 2.47 2016
155 Yemen 2.36 2016
156 Norway 2.21 2016
157 Palau 2.17 2016
158 New Zealand 2.16 2016
159 Guyana 2.13 2016
160 Bahrain 2.06 2016
161 Somalia 1.75 2016
162 Chile 1.71 2016
163 Andorra 1.66 2016
164 Vanuatu 1.64 2016
165 Saudi Arabia 1.62 2016
166 Congo 1.61 2016
167 Colombia 1.52 2016
168 Gabon 1.26 2016
169 Qatar 1.23 2016
170 Iceland 1.21 2016
171 Libya 0.98 2016
172 Namibia 0.97 2016
173 Brunei 0.95 2016
174 Cayman Islands 0.83 2016
175 The Bahamas 0.80 2016
176 Singapore 0.79 2016
177 Solomon Islands 0.71 2016
178 Montenegro 0.67 2016
179 Papua New Guinea 0.66 2016
180 United Arab Emirates 0.63 2016
181 Botswana 0.46 2016
182 Kuwait 0.45 2016
183 Mauritania 0.44 2016
184 Suriname 0.42 2016
185 Mongolia 0.37 2016
186 New Caledonia 0.34 2016
187 Seychelles 0.33 2016
188 Oman 0.18 2016
189 Djibouti 0.09 2016
190 Greenland 0.00 2015

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Development Relevance: Agricultural land covers more than one-third 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. 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. FAO's agricultural land data contains a wide range of information on variables that are significant for: understanding the structure of a country's agricultural sector; making economic plans and policies for food security; deriving environmental indicators, including those related to investment in agriculture and data on gross crop area and net crop area which are useful for policy formulation and monitoring.

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. 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. 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. 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. Total land area does not include inland water bodies such as major rivers and lakes. Variations from year to year may be due to updated or revised data rather than to change in area. 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