A research result shows that by 2030, the world could lose millions of fertile agricultural land to expand the city. In Asia and Africa it is estimated that around 80 percent of the total agricultural land is lost. Analyzing satellite data on agricultural land and its productivity by using 2000 as a reference point and comparing it with urban projections by 2030, international researchers found that 30 million hectares of agricultural land will be lost as a result of urban growth. Of these, Asia and Africa will lose 24 million hectares of their main agricultural land. With the cities being the center of economic activity, it is hoped that large-scale changes will occur. However, this is the first study to examine the impact of urbanization on agricultural land at the global, regional and country levels. This study was conducted by researchers from Austria, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand and the United States. Agricultural land that will be lost by 2030 has productivity almost double the global average productivity and accounts for around 3-4 percent of global crop production in 2000.
China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the US developed countries are determined to lose agricultural land for urbanization. Productivity of rice, wheat, corn and soybeans is likely to also have an effect, although there are significant variations at the regional level. Among several continents, Asia will experience a maximum loss of agricultural land and China alone estimates that there is a quarter of the total agricultural land lost globally. India, a rapidly developing country, is not expected to lose much, although the scenario may change as urbanization increases. Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia are also countries that have a large potential loss. As a result this change threatens the livelihoods of small farmers and retail traders, and more serious consequences can be seen on forest land.
Felix Creutzig, Head of the Mercator Research Institute's Global Land Use, Infrastructure and Transport Group and Climate Change in Berlin, Germany, said on the one hand, there were agricultural lands that were lost due to urbanization and on the other hand there were new agricultural lands that might reduce forest land or disrupt other valuable ecosystems on a relevant scale. Forest loss can also affect the local climate. In India, there is sufficient evidence that forests converted to agricultural land have weakened summer monsoon rainfall. Interestingly, the loss of agricultural land is not expected to have a strong impact on world food security. Navin Ramankutty, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, said it was rather difficult to predict how urban food systems would be affected. This will depend on the context. Whether we have a problem of food security in cities depends on how much the city depends on food produced locally versus imported food, and also the biogeography where the city is located. He stressed that the loss of global crop production can be overcome with small changes in diet or reduce food waste and loss of food.