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Aerial view of the fertile land in Sudan's Abyei region
© UN photo/Tim McKulka

‘Marginal’, ‘idle’ or ‘under-exploited’ lands

'Marginal', 'idle', 'under-exploited' lands are not clearly defined and vary from country to country. There are no fixed criteria to define them, for this reason the experts affirm that, in calculating the real extent of these areas, there is a very wide margin of error (more than 50% as to abandoned agricultural land).

However, 'marginal lands' can be identified as arid and generally unhospitable land with little or no potential for profit, often they are poor soils or with other undesirable characteristics, often located at the edge of deserts or other desolate areas.

'Idle lands' are lands that was cultivated but are now in a state of disuse, abandoned land, fallow land. Lands defined 'under-exploited' are not fully or sufficiently utilized. But there are no criteria to define which level is full or sufficient.

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