The World is Losing Ground
Worldwide, 4.9 billion hectares of land are suitable for agricultural use. More than two thirds of this land is permanently used as grassland and permanent pasture, while 30% is used for growing crops (Trux and Zeitz, 2011).
Our Graph of the Month demonstrates that the per-capita acreage has been decreasing for decades, and will continue to decrease. In 2050, per-capita-acreage is estimated to be 0.16 hectare, as compared to 0.38 hectare in 1970 (FAO, n.d.). There are two primary reasons for this development: a worldwide loss of fertile arable land, and a growing world population.
This development is even more pronounced in areas with arid climates, which make up more than a third of the available land. Unmodified, outdated land-use contributes to the destruction of previously fertile areas. Soil erosion and salinization play important roles.
Another factor is the growing demand for land by densely populated urban centers and industrial areas, mainly in threshold countries. According to FAO estimates, two thirds of available arable land in Africa will be lost by 2025 (as compared to 1990). (BMZ, 2012)
Sustainable Use of Cropland is Necessary
International agriculture is faced with the challenge of turning towards more sustainable agricultural techniques, in order to maintain cropland, while at the same time producing enough food to feed a growing world population. One of the factors contributing to more sustainability is site-adapted plant nutrition. Raised yields help to reduce per-capita land requirement. K+S KALI GmbH offers a wide range of specialty fertilizers, an international network of consultants and research facilities in order to support more sustainable use of cropland, grassland and pastures, worldwide.