They then combined these with land-use data from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/USA and the University of British Columbia,Vancouver/Canada, on global croplands and crop yields. The MCC study examined the total loss of croplands world-wide. To determine the productivity of that land, the researchers used the aggregated production of the 16 most important food crops, including for example maize, rice, soybeans and wheat.

Some African countries are already severely affected

Aside from Asia, the rapidly urbanising regions of Africa will be another global hotspot of loss of cropland. Among these are Nigeria as well as Burundi and Rwanda, already severely affected by hunger and food shortage. For the African population, this challenge is compounded by two factors: the distinct vulnerability of many African countries to the effects of climate change, and the comparatively greater difficulties encountered by the unemployed rural population in gaining a foothold in the urban labour markets.

Urbanisation is particularly pronounced in Egypt, too.