03-25-2013irrigation

New approaches to irrigation will need to be developed to adapt agriculture

 

Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Future of food security depends on irrigation methods that adapt to climate change – UN agency

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that in order to adapt agriculture to a changing climate, new approaches to irrigation will need to be developed and implemented worldwide.

These new approaches are being discussed as part of the 2nd World Irrigation Forum which opened yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and brings together stakeholders from around the world to rethink water management in the context of continued population and economic growth as well as the growing threats of climate change.

During the Forum, which wraps up on 12 November, experts will also discuss ways to improve water management in order to achieve global sustainable food security.

FAO emphasized in a news release that in order to achieve food security, especially in developing countries, regular access to water must be made possible through irrigation. The agency cited irrigation as “a key factor to help transform rural societies and economies,” as it plays a critical role in ending poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, as well as sustaining natural resources and responding to climate change.

The theme of this year’s Forum is ‘Water Management in a Changing World: the Role of Irrigation in Sustainable Food Production.’ In her remarks, Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, announced that solutions to agriculture necessitated addressing water issues and that the challenges of today’s water problems likewise depend on addressing food production.

“Future irrigation practices should also move beyond conventional approaches of productivity gains, and also focus on rural prosperity, facilitating inclusive, equitable and greener growth,” she urged.

The FAO expects the world population to rise to nine billion people by 2050, which will exacerbate the demand for food and water and require a scaling up of agricultural productivity to ensure that everyone is fed.

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.