Land is the issue

Published: Saturday 30 September 1995

-- While malnutrition stays with us in a big way, the quantity of arable land per capita is diminishing rapidly. Africa's population has increased from just under 300 million in 1970, to over 500 million in 1990. The number of malnourished rose from 101 million to 168 million people. The speed of population growth is leading to a situation where anywhere between 1.6 billion to 5.5 billion could b-e living in 2050 in countries with less than 0.07 hectares pei person of arable land, a benchmark of land scarcity. For centuries, most land brought under cultivation has come from forests and woodlands. Most of the earth's remaining forests, however, lie in the tropics whose lands are not suitable for, intensive and yet sustainable farming.

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