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 2015
2 Ukraine 56.17 2015
3 Denmark 55.99 2015
4 Moldova 55.46 2015
5 India 52.62 2015
6 Hungary 48.74 2015
7 Togo 48.72 2015
8 Burundi 46.73 2015
9 Rwanda 46.68 2015
10 The Gambia 43.48 2015
11 Czech Republic 40.61 2015
12 Malawi 40.31 2015
13 Pakistan 39.49 2015
14 Haiti 38.82 2015
15 Romania 38.06 2015
16 Nigeria 37.33 2015
17 Mauritius 36.45 2015
18 El Salvador 36.20 2015
19 Poland 35.56 2015
20 Comoros 34.93 2015
21 Lithuania 34.69 2015
22 Uganda 34.41 2015
23 Germany 33.97 2015
24 France 33.75 2015
25 Thailand 32.90 2015
26 Bulgaria 32.33 2015
27 Netherlands 30.66 2015
28 Serbia 29.62 2015
29 Cuba 28.97 2015
30 Slovak Republic 28.75 2015
31 Malta 28.03 2015
32 Belarus 28.02 2015
33 Belgium 27.39 2015
34 Turkey 26.82 2015
35 Barbados 25.58 2015
36 Syrian Arab Republic 25.39 2015
37 Tonga 25.00 2015
38 United Kingdom 24.85 2015
39 Spain 24.66 2015
40 Luxembourg 24.25 2015
41 Benin 23.94 2015
42 Azerbaijan 23.44 2015
43 Vietnam 22.57 2015
44 Albania 22.45 2015
45 Italy 22.44 2015
46 Sierra Leone 21.95 2015
47 Burkina Faso 21.93 2015
48 Cambodia 21.53 2015
49 Sri Lanka 20.73 2015
50 Ghana 20.66 2015
51 Bosnia and Herzegovina 20.10 2015
52 Latvia 19.78 2015
53 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 19.52 2015
54 St. Kitts and Nevis 19.23 2015
55 Philippines 18.75 2015
56 Tunisia 18.67 2015
57 Morocco 18.22 2015
58 Greece 17.25 2015
59 San Marino 16.67 2015
60 Myanmar 16.66 2015
61 United States 16.65 2015
62 Senegal 16.62 2015
63 Dominican Republic 16.56 2015
64 Macedonia 16.46 2015
65 Austria 16.31 2015
66 Estonia 15.80 2015
67 Armenia 15.69 2015
68 Tanzania 15.24 2015
69 Ethiopia 15.12 2015
70 Croatia 15.08 2015
71 Korea 15.02 2015
72 Ireland 14.94 2015
73 Nepal 14.75 2015
74 Argentina 14.32 2015
75 Uruguay 13.77 2015
76 Israel 13.73 2015
77 Liechtenstein 13.50 2015
78 Niger 13.26 2015
79 Cameroon 13.12 2015
80 Indonesia 12.97 2015
81 Lebanon 12.90 2015
82 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12.82 2015
83 China 12.68 2015
84 Guinea 12.62 2015
85 Nicaragua 12.50 2015
86 Cabo Verde 12.41 2015
87 Portugal 12.36 2015
88 Paraguay 12.08 2015
89 Afghanistan 11.89 2015
90 Mexico 11.79 2015
91 Iraq 11.59 2015
92 Japan 11.52 2015
93 Jamaica 11.08 2015
94 Kazakhstan 10.89 2015
95 Cyprus 10.70 2015
96 Guinea-Bissau 10.67 2015
97 Timor-Leste 10.42 2015
98 Uzbekistan 10.34 2015
99 Zimbabwe 10.34 2015
100 South Africa 10.30 2015
101 Kenya 10.19 2015
102 Swaziland 10.17 2015
103 Switzerland 10.08 2015
104 Brazil 9.57 2015
105 Slovenia 9.14 2015
106 Côte d'Ivoire 9.12 2015
107 Honduras 9.12 2015
108 Antigua and Barbuda 9.09 2015
109 São Tomé and Principe 9.06 2015
110 Fiji 9.03 2015
111 Iran 9.02 2015
112 Lesotho 8.97 2015
113 Grenada 8.82 2015
114 Guatemala 8.71 2015
115 Sudan 8.34 2015
116 Dominica 8.00 2015
117 Panama 7.57 2015
118 Russia 7.52 2015
119 Finland 7.38 2015
120 Mozambique 7.18 2015
121 Puerto Rico 6.88 2015
122 Eritrea 6.83 2015
123 Kyrgyz Republic 6.68 2015
124 Lao PDR 6.61 2015
125 Georgia 6.45 2015
126 Sweden 6.34 2015
127 Madagascar 6.02 2015
128 Australia 6.00 2015
129 Tajikistan 5.26 2015
130 Mali 5.25 2015
131 Liberia 5.19 2015
132 Zambia 5.11 2015
133 St. Lucia 4.92 2015
134 Trinidad and Tobago 4.87 2015
135 Canada 4.80 2015
136 Costa Rica 4.54 2015
137 Ecuador 4.30 2015
138 Equatorial Guinea 4.28 2015
139 Bolivia 4.13 2015
140 Turkmenistan 4.13 2015
141 Angola 3.93 2015
142 Chad 3.89 2015
143 Belize 3.42 2015
144 Peru 3.24 2015
145 Algeria 3.13 2015
146 Dem. Rep. Congo 3.13 2015
147 Venezuela 3.06 2015
148 Hong Kong SAR, China 2.95 2015
149 Egypt 2.91 2015
150 Malaysia 2.90 2015
151 Central African Republic 2.89 2015
152 Samoa 2.83 2015
153 Bhutan 2.63 2015
154 Jordan 2.57 2015
155 Kiribati 2.47 2015
156 Yemen 2.36 2015
157 New Zealand 2.24 2015
158 Norway 2.21 2015
159 Palau 2.17 2015
160 Guyana 2.13 2015
161 Bahrain 2.08 2015
162 Chile 1.77 2015
163 Somalia 1.75 2015
164 Andorra 1.72 2015
165 Vanuatu 1.64 2015
166 Saudi Arabia 1.63 2015
167 Congo 1.61 2015
168 Colombia 1.52 2015
169 Gabon 1.26 2015
170 Iceland 1.21 2015
171 Qatar 1.13 2015
172 Libya 0.98 2015
173 Namibia 0.97 2015
174 Brunei 0.95 2015
175 Cayman Islands 0.83 2015
176 The Bahamas 0.80 2015
177 Singapore 0.79 2015
178 Solomon Islands 0.71 2015
179 Botswana 0.70 2015
180 Papua New Guinea 0.66 2015
181 Montenegro 0.65 2015
182 United Arab Emirates 0.45 2015
183 Mauritania 0.44 2015
184 Kuwait 0.43 2015
185 Suriname 0.42 2015
186 Mongolia 0.37 2015
187 New Caledonia 0.34 2015
188 Seychelles 0.33 2015
189 Oman 0.12 2015
190 Djibouti 0.09 2015
191 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