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Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5371-5397; doi:10.3390/su7055371

Changes in Arable Land Demand for Food in India and China: A Potential Threat to Food Security

1
Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environmental Observations, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
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Abstract

India and China are two similar developing countries with huge populations, rapid economic growth and limited natural resources, therefore facing the massive pressure of ensuring food security. In this paper, we will discuss the food security situations in these two countries by studying the historical changes of food supply-demand balance with the concept of agricultural land requirements for food (LRF) from 1963–2009. LRF of a country is a function of population, per capita consumption/diet, cropping yield and cropping intensity. We have attempted to discuss and compare our results in a framework which links consumption of different groups of food items to diet patterns; then, to the total land requirement for food in a scenario when population is growing rapidly and diet diversification and urbanization due to economic reform impose excessive pressure on food security of both countries. We also elaborate on the role of technology dissemination and critically analyze the achievements and drawbacks of government policies to ensure food self-sufficiency and food security of nations. Our results show that the total LRF increases approximately by 42% and 40%, whereas per capita LRF decreases significantly by about 48% and 30% from 1963–2009, for India and China, respectively. Furthermore, our studies reveal that population growth dominates most of the increase in total LRF for India; whereas diet pattern change induced by income growth drives the major increase in LRF for China. Therefore, sustainable management of agricultural land resource is an urgent need both for India and China as there will be demand for more food to meet the diet requirement for the entire population. We also demonstrate the role of India and China in future global food security programs and the challenges to implement the new land reform policies domestically. View Full-Text
Keywords: land required for food; food consumption; India; China; diet; population growth land required for food; food consumption; India; China; diet; population growth
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nath, R.; Luan, Y.; Yang, W.; Yang, C.; Chen, W.; Li, Q.; Cui, X. Changes in Arable Land Demand for Food in India and China: A Potential Threat to Food Security. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5371-5397.

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