SDGs: Indicator 2.4.1 | Page 4 | Land Portal

This indicator is currently classified as Tier II. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the Custodian agency for this indicator.

Unit of measure: The indicator is unitless, expressing a ratio between area under sustainable and productive agriculture and total agricultural land area (%).


Why is this indicator important?

Harmful, unsustainable agricultural practices from extractive industries, large-scale agricultural producers, and peasants can pose significant risks to people and the environment. While sustainable agriculture was mainly defined by environmental criteria in the past, its economic and social dimension as come to the fore. A farm can only be sustainable if it is well managed and the well-being of those working at the farm is taken into consideration.

The indicator was developed through a multi-stakeholder process to ensure capturing the complex nature of sustainable agriculture.


How is the indicator measured and monitored?

The indicator’s scope centers around the agricultural land area of a farm holding including, extensive crop and livestock production systems, subsistence agriculture, agro-forestry, and aquaculture that takes place within the agricultural land area. Excluded are state and common land that is not used exclusively by farm holdings, pastoral pastures, backyard farming, forestry and aquaculture holdings. Agricultural area is defined as arable land plus land under permanent crops, meadows, and pastures.

The methodology was endorsed in late 2019, including both national farm surveys as a single data collection instrument as well as multi-dimensional data sources. According to the metadata document, data is collected through agricultural surveys or as integrated modules in already existing household surveys (e.g., AGRISurvey and the 50x2030 initiative) organized by national statistical agencies, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other international agencies. In addition, sensing, GIS, administrative data, or environmental monitoring systems were further identified as cost-effective instruments.

FAO, together with the Global Strategy to improve Agriculture and Rural Statistics (GSARS), have developed the capacity development material necessary for this indicator, such as a methodological guide, an enumerator manual, calculation document and an e-learning course.


Selected indicators on the Land Portal

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Agricultural Area (1'000 Ha) is the land area mainly devoted to agriculture. It includes arable land, permanent crops, and permanent pasture, as defined by FAO.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Other related indicators

Agricultural Irrigated area as a share of total agricultural land.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)

'Agriculture'' area certified organic and/or in conversion to organic.

Previously known as "Agricultural area organic, total"

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops through cultivation or naturally (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee), land under trees and shrubs producing flowers (such as roses and jasmine), and n

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Goal 2: Zero hunger
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

Indicator details

Tier 2

The indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data is not regularly produced by countries.

Key dates: 

FAO Expert meeting for SDG indicator 2.4.1

3 April 2017 to 4 April 2017

This workshop brought together technical experts and statisticians to support the methodological work being conducted for SDG indicator 2.4.1.

Custodian agency: 

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