1 State of land, soil and water

Some key findings in this section…
  • Land and water systems are under pressure: Advances in food systems require focusing on land, soils and water as interconnected systems.
  • Current patterns of intensification are not proving sustainable: High levels of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are stretching the productive capacity to the limit and severely degrading land and environmental services.
  • Climate change: Evapotranspiration is expected to increase and alter the quantity and distribution of rainfall, leading to changes in land/crop suitability and greater variations in river run-off and groundwater recharge.
Agriculture is a significant contributor to water stress in countries with high levels of water stress. (See map on page 17.)
Map source: FAO and UN-Water, 2021 modified to comply with UN, 2021.
There is little room for expanding the area of productive land, yet 98 percent of food is grown on land.
©FAO/Giuseppe Bizzarri