40 Percent Of The World’s Cropland Is In Or Near Cities

An estimated 80 percent of the world’s urban farms are in emerging nations, yet most governments don’t support this form of agriculture. (Francisco Anzola/flickr/cc)

Source: National Public Radio

Singapore and New York are among the cities that create the most buzz about urban farms, yet in many ways they’re playing catch-up.  Eliza Barclay reports for NPR’s The Salt blog that 80 percent of the world’s urban farms are in developing nations.

Unfortunately, many governments in these nations fail to recognize the value of urban agriculture, Barclay writes. Urban plots are often viewed as eyesores that are dispensable to make room for development. Also, since many of the farms require irrigation, they place strains on municipal water resources.

More than a billion acres is used to grow food crops within 12 miles (19 kilometers) of cities, according to a study in the journal Environmental Research Letters highlighted by NPR. While most of the plots are just outside cities, roughly 16.6 percent are located within municipal boundaries. The research was conducted by the International Water Management Institute, the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University.

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