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Presentation on theme: "Land and Water Development Division FAO, Rome UNLOCKING THE WATER POTENTIAL OF AGRICULTURE."— Presentation transcript:


2 Facts THE SOLUTION TO THE WATER CRISIS LIES WITH AGRICULTURE Agriculture the main water user Achievements in world food production Role of irrigation in food production Falling food prices and declining investment

3 Agriculture the main water user Agriculture: 70% of all water uses 90% in some places Water needed by people to live and grow food: Drinking: 3 litres/day Domestic needs: 30 to 300 litres/day Food:3 000 litres/day

4 Achievements in World Food Production In the last 40 years: World population has doubled Food production has outpaced population growth Malnutrition and hunger in slow but constant decline The productivity of water in agriculture has doubled

5 The role of Irrigation in food production 270 million ha irrigated 20% of cultivated land, 40% of crop production reduces vulnerability to climate vagaries allows investment in other farm inputs allows intensification Investment in Irrigation in the last century has played a key role in avoiding mass starvation and improving food security

6 Robert L. Thompson WB, ICID (Seoul 2001) Falling Food Prices and Declining Investment

7 Challenges Food for all Eradicate poverty Balance rainfed and irrigated agriculture Sharing a finite resource Strategic role of groundwater Release pressure on environment

8 840 million people are malnourished; 799 million in developing countries World Food Summit goal (1996) was to half the number of hungry people by 2015 Progress is too slow: significant improvements in China and Asia; Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind Food for all 2 billion more people to feed by 2050 changing consumption patterns

9 Developing countries are vulnerable to changes in world agricultural market; they absorb 72% of worldwide imports; Low food prices reduce benefit from irrigation, but provide cheaper food for poor people Ranking of impact on poverty reduction: 1) rural roads 2) agricultural research and extension 3) irrigation Eradicate poverty Find the best combinations of investments

10 Rainfed remains Nr. One Food producer Irrigation water use will increase Water and Food Security are linked Inter-sectorial competition for water is intensifying Environmental externalities of irrigation are growing Balance rainfed and irrigation

11 Sharing a finite resource 40 to 70% of economically accessible water is already committed Total water withdrawals will rise by more than 20% in next 30 years, of which 40% in developing countries but Area increase for irrigated agriculture will be at most 20% by 2030, water use will increase by 14%; No global problem, but locally the situation is critical

12 The strategic role of groundwater Global use of groundwater is modest compared to overall availability; Rapid growth in India and China: 60% of cereal production depends on groundwater; Widespread drop in water tables indicates over- abstraction of the resource Over-abstraction perceived but rarely quantified Develop sustainable groundwater management mechanisms to maintain its role as strategic resource

13 Release pressure on environment Agriculture causes: water pollution water logging salinization health hazard Environmental impacts are not mitigated and increases in river salinity are largely overlooked Reuse of wastewater is costly and poses health hazards; Raise awareness and improve policies and laws to better assess, monitor and mitigate impact of agriculture

14 Prospects for change Raising agricultural water productivity Modernisation of irrigation Give farmers the power to change Focussing on poverty reduction Innovative and strategic investments Policy Signals to leverage investment

15 Raising agricultural water productivity Integrated approach required Rainfed agriculture: soil moisture conservation water harvesting conservation agriculture Irrigated agriculture: irrigation techniques irrigation management wastewater reuse

16 Modernize irrigation A process of systemic integration, joining up policies, institutions and production: Technical: shift to pressured distribution, on-demand systems from upstream to downstream control Institutional: participation of users in operations and maintenance Organization of water user in to associations

17 Give farmers the Power to change Transfer of responsibilities must be accompanied with transfer of authority Incentives for joint management Have to be clear up-front Land tenure and water use rights to be insured Farmers need on-demand water service

18 Focussing on poverty reduction Focus on areas where irrigation can best contribute to poverty reduction Promote integrated rural development, including: Access to land and water Roads Research Markets

19 Innovative and strategic investments Investments in irrigation to be tailored to effective market demand, not to irrigation “potential” Public investment should come in support to private initiatives Land and water Legislations should be adjusted to encourage investments in irrigation

20 Policy Signals to leverage investment Three levels of policy changes to address poverty and food insecurity and service market demand Micro level: incentives for individual farmers and user groups Irrigation scheme level: modernisation National level: adapt policies and investments

21 Actions At National Government level: Conceive irrigation as one element of food security strategies Invest in irrigation modernization Adopt an integrated approach to water resources management Adopt appropriate policies and institutions

22 Actions At NGO, Bilateral and Multilateral Technical assistance level Programme and not short-term project assistance Accept national priority over donor priority

23 Actions At Donor Agency level: Funding to be tailored to the specific conditions of each case Funding leverage to be used to encourage integration of research, extension and water management

24 Conclusions Land and water productivity are primary elements of strategies to eradicate poverty Much needed investments in irrigation must match real opportunities, not ideology Opportunities exist to adopt innovative approaches to investment in irrigation Increased water productivity in agriculture Unlocking the potential of water management practices

25 Thank you For more information, please consult

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