Impact of urbanization trends on production of key staple crops

José F. Andrade, Kenneth G. Cassman, Juan I. Rattalino Edreira, Fahmuddin Agus, Abdullahi Bala, Nanyan Deng, Patricio Grassini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Urbanization has appropriated millions of hectares of cropland, and this trend will persist as cities continue to expand. We estimate the impact of this conversion as the amount of land needed elsewhere to give the same yield potential as determined by differences in climate and soil properties. Robust spatial upscaling techniques, well-validated crop simulation models, and soil, climate, and cropping system databases are employed with a focus on populous countries with high rates of land conversion. We find that converted cropland is 30–40% more productive than new cropland, which means that projection of food production potential must account for expected cropland loss to urbanization. Policies that protect existing farmland from urbanization would help relieve pressure on expansion of agriculture into natural ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1158-1167
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Land conversion
  • Maize
  • Rice
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Staple crops
  • Urbanization
  • Yield potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology


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