United States has an area similar to that of China. But United States has 40% more arable land. Besides, U.S. has less than 1/4 of the population of China.
This means that U.S. has six times more arable land per head than China.
While U.S. gains 3 million people per year China gains almost 8 million. Today, more than 500 million Chinese live in cities or about 40% of the whole Chinese population but this will grow to 80% in the future and it will be the equivalent of more than 1 billion people.
Since Mao Tse Tung took the power until now China has lost almost 50% of its arable land. Why? Because cities are bigger today. Cities mean more houses, buildings, highways, factories…and golf courses. This means more and more cement. So, arable lands are sacrificed.
The huge Asian nation has given rules about land use. But the rules do not have the same power that social, economic and demographic forces have.
This is not all. The Chinese economy has had a high economic growth since 1978 until now. This means they want cars, computers, internet and better food. Yes, even if the population of China would remain stagnant the fact is that the Chinese would consume better and more food per head. Gone are the years when the Chinese per capita income was just $310. This year 2006 it could surpass $2,000.
China is a huge market for American farmers. This way U.S. would be able to increase its exports to the most populated country in the world.
India has a huge population too, more than 1.1 billion people. And it gains 16 million people per year. In the future the most populated country of the world will be India, not China.
I have to add that India has less arable land than U.S. And although China has been able to control more its demographic growth lately, it has not been the same in India. This country will have a high demographic growth for many years.
This could be a chance for United States to increase its exports to those countries.
Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt… are potentially big markets.
Agricultural exports of U.S. are about $60 billion but reaching or surpassing the $100 billion barrier is possible.
Time to reduce the U.S. trade gap.