Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 2.4.1 - Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture

The area under productive and sustainable agriculture captures the three dimensions of sustainable production: environmental, economic and social. The measurement instrument - farm surveys - will give countries the flexibility to identify priorities and challenges within the three dimensions of sustainability. Land under productive and sustainable agriculture will be those farms and associated agricultural land area that satisfy the sustainability criteria of the sub-indicators selected across all three dimensions. This indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 2.4.

Target 2.4

By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.


This indicator measures progress in achieving more productive and sustainable agriculture. It is made up of relevant sub-indicators that will provide governments with strategic information for evidence based policies.

Key results

Sustainable agriculture is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda and first fundamental step to securing zero hunger. While many of the SDGs address issues related to agriculture, SDG indicator 2.4.1 is fully dedicated to it.

There has been considerable discussion over the past thirty years on how to define “sustainable agriculture”. As agriculture contributes to development – as an economic activity, as a source of livelihood and as provider and user of environmental services – the 2030 Agenda suggests that all sectors, including agriculture, be considered from three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. 

SDG indicator 2.4.1, defined as the “proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture,” is no different. In the past, it had been defined primarily along environmental criteria. If the soil was bad, or if water was not managed well, then a farm might have been considered unsustainable. In recent years, however, there has been a realization that being sustainable reaches much further, to include economic and social dimensions, and putting farmers in the center. If a farm is not economically sound or not resilient to external shocks, or if the well-being of those working on a farm are not considered, then a farm cannot be sustainable.

This indicator was developed through a multi-stakeholder process involving statisticians and technical experts from countries, international organizations, national statistical offices, civil society and the private sector. It brings together themes on productivity, profitability, resilience, land and water, decent work and well-being in order to capture the multidimensional nature of sustainable agriculture. 

They are being pilot tested in selected countries from different regions.

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