Feeding a Growing Global Population

Natural resources (land, water, air, plants and animals), and the ecosystem goods
and services derived from them, support the livelihoods of all humans.
It is the responsibility of all to manage these resources so that the present generation
can fulfill their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Over the last 20 years the extent of land area harvested for crops has increased by 16 %,
the area under irrigation has doubled, and agricultural production has grown nearly
threefold. Yet, close to one billion people remain undernourished.
As the world’s economy grows – however unevenly – there is a corresponding acceleration
in the demand for animal protein. Intensification of the livestock sector to feedlots
means more agriculture land is used to indirectly produce food.

Rural poor are often forced to rely on low input and low yield agriculture
and the consequences of degrading land are disproportionately borne by this community.
However, smallholders are key players in everyday decisions which
-over time - determine the evolution of the landscape,including its degradation or sustainability.

The following maps illustrate the global expanse of agriculture
and explain crucial aspects of the dynamics food production in relation to land degradation.