The Future of Agriculture

The actual forecasts of the 'dynamics of arable area' suggest that it may increase up to 3.2 billion ha in the middle of the twenty-first century, if the agricultural productivity remains at the present level, and up to

1.6 billion ha, if the productivity is raised 2 times. This increase may take place, first of all, at the expense of forest lands. But the real dynamics of arable areas in recent years (Figure 1 ) and their decrease in the countries with very intensive agriculture (Figure 8) indicate that these values might be overestimated.

'Agricultural technologies' will be developed along two different ways. First, their further intensification is expected in developing countries, since it is the only way to ensure food supply of their increasing population. Second, the further expansion of 'green' or 'organic' agriculture with minimum artificial inputs (mineral fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, tillage, etc.), may take place in developed countries, where the cost of 'ecologically clean' food is very high. At present, the total area of 'organic' farmland in the world is 22.8 million ha (10.5 million ha in Australia, 5.2 million ha in Europe,

4.7 million ha in South America, and 1.4 million ha in North America), and it is steadily increasing.

See also: Agriculture Systems.

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