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* Rising yields, slowing population means farmland peaks

* Food crop area could shrink by 10 pct in half a century

* Cropland 2.5 times France can return to nature by 2060

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO, Dec 17 (Reuters) – The amount of land needed to grow crops worldwide is at a peak and an area more than twice the size of France can return to nature by 2060 due to rising yields and slower population growth, a group of experts said on Monday. The report, conflicting with U.N. studies that say more cropland will be needed in coming decades to avert hunger and price spikes as the world population rises beyond 7 billion, said humanity had reached what it called “Peak Farmland”.

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