Global population growth continues to put pressure on land as human settlement and development needs take center stage. This leads to the diminishing of land space for agriculture and wildlife. With a total population of more than 7 billion people, countries are experiencing shrinking arable spaces as days go by with some governments now buying land spaces in foreign nations. Evidently, every population growth leads to with greater demand for the available land, however, there are a considerable number of countries that still have a fair share of arable land within their jurisdictions.
Top Three Countries with the Most Arable Land.
The word arable comes from Latin word arabilis which simply means land that is tillable and can support growing of crops. From this background, arable land is land that is favorable for successful tilling and farming. FAO and World Bank includes land under used for gardening and planting temporary agricultural crops in this definition. The following countries have the highest percentages of arable land within their jurisdictions.
Bangladesh tops the list with 59% (33828.34 square miles) of its total land space marked as arable, a significant fall from 67.4% in 1965. Most of Bangladesh is rich fertile land, 65.5% of which is under cultivation and 17% being under forest cover all enjoying a good network of internal and cross-border rivers. With many places being less than 39.4 feet above sea level, approximately 10% of this country may flood if the sea level rises by 3.28 feet. Since the 1960s, there has been a consistent construction of many dams that have naturally initiated mass depositing of silt which has created new fertile lands and appropriate infrastructure has been put in place to facilitate utilization of these lands. The government of Bangladesh is determined to improve the agricultural sector to boost the national economy.
Denmark ranks second after Bangladesh in the percentage of arable land with 58.9% of its total land being arable. Statistically, this represents approximately 1.62 square miles in every 1000 people and 86.6% of the total agricultural area. The total arable land in this country has reduced gradually from 1961 and reaching an all-time minimum in 2003. This country lies on an area of 16,573 square miles, 270 square miles being internal water bodies and also has a vast coastline that is continuously shifting due to erosion and addition of material along the coastline. There are constant efforts to reclaim the coastline thus further explaining why the coastal areas are very sandy yet fertile. Also, the climatic condition, notably the 30 inches of annual rainfall, contributes to the conducive environment for crop production.
56.1% of Ukraine’s 233,062 square miles is arable. Ukraine is the 46th largest country globally and the second largest in Europe with a landscape of fertile plains and plateaus crossed by various rivers. There are three broad zones characterized by different soil categories which include; the zone of Chestnut and salinized soils, the zone of sandy podzolized soils, and the central belt which has very fertile black soil (chornozem). Ukraine is one of the most fertile countries thanks to the chornozem which are full of humus ranging from one foot to five feet thick. Though the chornozem is the most fertile, the other soils are also fertile and arable thus explaining the country’s crop diversity.
Making Non-Arable Land Arable
Non-arable land is increasing as more countries are resorting to planting permanent crops, setting aside land for pasture and initiating big infrastructure projects. Due to climate change and poor rain water harvesting, potentially productive land is lacking adequate water for agriculture. Many places also have rugged terrain not fit for cultivation, however, there exists processes to reverse this and make more land arable through formulating correct policies for land reclamation and political will of each country.