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Mar 22, 2012

FAO - Food Security Dependent on Better Water Usage

Every year on 22 March, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day.  This year the topic of discussion at the annual FAO conference underscored the linkage between managing water resources and food security.  As the global population increases to an estimate 9 billion by 2050 the demand for water will only increase.  According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, water is the "most critical finite resource" in the world.

Some of the statistics highlighted by the FAO on World Water Day:

  • Guaranteeing sustainable food and water security for all will require transferring appropriate water technologies, empowering small food producers and conserving essential ecosystem services.
  • The Rio+20 Earth Summit will highlight the need to "connect the dots between water security and food and nutrition security in the context of a green economy."
  • There is a need for "investments in people, infrastructure, education and awareness building, and finding incentives for small farmers to adopt best practices and strengthening their capacity to improve their productivity."
  • There is also a need to increase "farmers' resilience against climate change, improving water governance, and establishing institutions to improve national and regional water management are also priority areas."
  • The FAO estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted each year. A 50 percent reduction of food losses and waste at the global level would save 1 350 km3 of water annually.
  • An estimated 1.6 billion people live in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity and by 2025 two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions.
  • Agriculture is responsible for 70 percent of all freshwater and groundwater withdrawals worldwide.
  • Irrigated agriculture accounts for only 20 percent of the Earth's cultivated land area, but produces 40 percent of its food.

For more see: "Success in hunger fight hinges on better use of water," FAO Press Release, 22 March 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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