Zimbabwe - Arable land (hectares)

The value for Arable land (hectares) in Zimbabwe was 4,000,000 as of 2016. As the graph below shows, over the past 55 years this indicator reached a maximum value of 4,250,000 in 2008 and a minimum value of 1,885,000 in 1961.

Definition: Arable land (in hectares) 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:

Year Value
1961 1,885,000
1962 1,935,000
1963 1,985,000
1964 2,035,000
1965 2,065,000
1966 2,135,000
1967 2,185,000
1968 2,235,000
1969 2,285,000
1970 2,335,000
1971 2,385,000
1972 2,415,000
1973 2,415,000
1974 2,465,000
1975 2,465,000
1976 2,465,000
1977 2,465,000
1978 2,465,000
1979 2,465,000
1980 2,505,000
1981 2,545,000
1982 2,585,000
1983 2,625,000
1984 2,665,000
1985 2,705,000
1986 2,745,000
1987 2,790,000
1988 2,830,000
1989 2,870,000
1990 2,910,000
1991 2,950,000
1992 2,990,000
1993 3,030,000
1994 3,100,000
1995 3,110,000
1996 3,400,000
1997 3,500,000
1998 3,400,000
1999 3,550,000
2000 3,600,000
2001 3,600,000
2002 3,650,000
2003 3,650,000
2004 3,800,000
2005 3,900,000
2006 4,100,000
2007 4,000,000
2008 4,250,000
2009 4,100,000
2010 4,000,000
2011 4,200,000
2012 4,000,000
2013 4,000,000
2014 4,000,000
2015 4,000,000
2016 4,000,000

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.

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, however, 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.

Periodicity: Annual


Topic: Environment Indicators

Sub-Topic: Land use