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Unlocking the water potential of agriculture Alexander Mueller Assistant Director General, Natural Resources Department 3 rd preparatory meeting of the.

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Presentation on theme: "Unlocking the water potential of agriculture Alexander Mueller Assistant Director General, Natural Resources Department 3 rd preparatory meeting of the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unlocking the water potential of agriculture Alexander Mueller Assistant Director General, Natural Resources Department 3 rd preparatory meeting of the political ministerial agenda January 2009, FAO, Rome

2 WHY agriculture is so important in the water debate? Simply because globally agriculture water is: 70% of all fresh water withdrawals70% of all fresh water withdrawalsand 90% of the consumption.90% of the consumption. Annual water required for food production: imagine a canal of 10 meters deep, 100 meters wide and 7.1 million kilometers longimagine a canal of 10 meters deep, 100 meters wide and 7.1 million kilometers long imagine 120 Nile river flows (Aswan)imagine 120 Nile river flows (Aswan)

3 The good news is that 1%of water productivity gain in agriculture means 10% increase of availability for other uses The good news is that 1% of water productivity gain in agriculture means 10% increase of availability for other uses Liters per day per person Drinking2-4 Domestic Food (and more) The unavoidable facts

4 YES Investing in agriculture yields to dramatic productivity Gains!! Ex. Maize in Tons/ha  water productivity gains United States China Latin America Sub-Saharan Africa Associated water productivity gains: 300 to 500 %.

5 We know water scarcity is on the rise !!! By 2025, two-thirds of the world population could be under “stress conditions” ( m 3 per year per capita), and 1800 million people are expected to be living in countries or regions with “absolute water scarcity” (<500 m 3 per year per capita)

6 Population Growth – Diet - Urbanization Drivers of the water demand are known Ecosystem - Water quality Energy (incl. Bio-fuels) Climate change: on water supply Volatility and shocks of Food and Energy prices We know the new demands/threats

7 Examined a detailed portfolio of about 1000 investment projects prepared by the governments of the 53 African countries on short-, medium- and long-termExamined a detailed portfolio of about 1000 investment projects prepared by the governments of the 53 African countries on short-, medium- and long-term Estimated the overall investments needed in water infrastructure for agriculture and hydropower: about 65 Billions $ over the next 20 years.Estimated the overall investments needed in water infrastructure for agriculture and hydropower: about 65 Billions $ over the next 20 years. Design a road map to address the challenges to the future water development for agriculture and energy and the scope for synergiesDesign a road map to address the challenges to the future water development for agriculture and energy and the scope for synergies FOOD and ENERGY FAO & FAO & Libyan Arab Jamahiriya organized in 2008 a Conference on Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa

8 Climate change & water supply: runoff ≈ year 2050 The Wet gets wetter! - The Dry gets drier! Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Water and Food Security (March 2008)

9 We know how to respond to water scarcity 1. Augment the “supply” 3. Increase water use “efficiency” & water “productivity” 4. Revise the “demand” management 2. Preserve/conserve the “quality” Few insights on

10 Increase water use “efficiency” More services per drop  Multiple Uses of Water More crops per drops Increase water uses & “productivity”

11 Efficiency at global level is also important ! Optimization of agricultural trades “Virtual water to save water” Reduction of food losses before and after the plate Efficiency along the food chain also critical ! On the demand

12 It is also important to curb the “demand” Raise awareness & responsibility of customers “Water footprint” Noteworthy that between 1990 and 1995 in developed countries, water savings due to diet changes [reduction of meat consumption and shift from red to white meat] have generated some 400 liters per day per capita THAT is more than domestic water needs !!

13 CONCLUSIONS CONCLUSIONS FAO wishes the message of the ministerial process to be a message of hope based on realistic options of investment in water for all from improved agriculture water management. Main statement is that in water scarce world, investing on the main use of water (food and agriculture) is the best strategy !

14 Thank You


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