Agriculture: Facts and figures

Readingtime 3 minutes

We wouldn’t have any food without agriculture. But how many resources do crops and animal farming consume? And what happens to the food products? An overview of the key facts

How the world’s harvests are used, in millions of tons (t) More than 3.2 billion tons of crops were harvested in 2018. Most of it was corn. However, only slightly more than one third of the harvests are directly used for food. Almost half is turned into animal feed. This is especially the case with soybeans, which are grown on a particularly large scale in the USA, Brazil, and Argentina.

Water use for food production, in liters per kilogram of end product Widely different amounts of water are needed for the production of the various types of food. While two bathtubs full of water are needed on average to grow a kilogram of vegetables, almost 100 bathtubs full are required for one kilogram of beef.

What people eat worldwide (global averages) People’s diets consist primarily of fruits and vegetables, followed by grain, dairy products, and eggs. However, the size and composition of meals varies greatly, depending on the region and the individual person.

National Geographic, OECD, FAO, AT Kearney, University of Twente, WWF


15th January 2020

ELEMENTS Newsletter
Get fascinating insights into the research Evonik is conducting, and its social relevance, by subscribing to our free newsletter.
Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein


How to succeed at sustainable agriculture

Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein explains the steps to make organic farming possible.

Johann-Caspar Gammelin

Food production

New directions for sustainable food production

Johann-Caspar Gammelin advocates sustainable food production through intelligent innovations.


Crude oil: Facts and figures

Facts about the biggest fossil energy carrier: Who extracts how much, and what is made from it?


Bones: Facts and figures

Bone-dry facts about the components of the human skeleton.