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TOWARDS FOOD SECURITY: PROMISING PATHWAYS FOR INCREASING AGRICULTURAL WATER PRODUCTIVITY

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Hamdy Atef
EMERITUS PROFESSOR, WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CIHEAM/MEDITERRANEAN AGRONOMIC INSTITUTE, BARI-ITALY email: hamdy@iamb.it

Keyword(s): Food, Water, Security, Productivity, Increase
Article: Poster:
AbstractToday the competition for scarce water resources in many places is intense. The lack of water in most developing countries, particularly those in arid and semi-arid regions, is the major constraint to producing food for hundreds of millions of people. Agriculture is central in meeting this challenge. On the globe, nearly 70% of the available water resources are allocated to food production and agricultural products but, unfortunately, with enormous water losses exceeding 50%. To meet the acute freshwater challenges facing humankind over the coming 50 years and to fulfil the food gap to feed 8-9 billion people, directing all the efforts to improve water use and management in agriculture is now a must. The hope lies in closing the gap in agricultural productivity and in realizing the unexplored potential through water management along with realistic changes in the policy agenda, production techniques and implemented strategies. Many promising pathways for raising water productivity are available by adopting proven agronomic and water management practices. However, despite adequate technologies and management practices, achieving net gains in water productivity is facing numerous constraints with low adoption rates. The adoption of such techniques requires an enabling policy and institutional environment that aligns the incentives of producers, resource managers and society and provides a mechanism for dealing with trade-off. This paper will examine in detail the promising pathways to achieving higher water productivity and the major constraints and it will also discuss the changes needed in the policy agenda and water management strategies highlighting the needed policy action
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