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Rainfed Agriculture Improvement: Water Management is the Key Challenge

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Giuliana Trisorio Liuzzi, Atef Hamdy
Prof. Giuliana Trisorio-Liuzzi FULL PROFESSOR, FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE, BARI UNIVERSITY, ITALY AND VICE-PRESIDENT, CIHEAM/MEDITERRANEAN AGRONOMIC INSTITUTE, BARI-ITALY Email: Prof. Atef Hamdy Emeritus Professor, Water Resources Management, CIHEAM/Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, Bari-Italy email:

Keyword(s): rainfed, agriculture, water, management,, food, productivity, challenge
Article: Poster:
AbstractRain-fed agriculture will continue to produce the bulk of the world’s food. It is already practiced in 80% of the world physical agricultural area and generates 62% of the world’s staple food (FAOSTAT 2005). Estimates suggest that 75% of the increased water requirements needed to attain the 2015 hunger reduction target of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), will have to come from water investments in rain-fed agriculture, those, unfortunately, that have been neglected over the past 50 years. In arid and semi-arid regions water management is the key challenge for improving food production in rain-fed agriculture due to the extreme variability of rainfall, long dry season and recurrent droughts, floods and dry spells. Water management should be directed towards the reduction of water-related risks posed by high rainfall variability rather than coping with an absolute lack of water. However, to reduce these rainfall-related risks a new era of water investments and policy is required. Investments are needed in soil, crop and farm management in small holders’ rain-fed farming systems, those to improve water productivity to add new freshwater with valuable water saving through local management of rainfall and runoff. To achieve such goals there is an urgent need for widening policy scope to include new strategies for water management in rain-fed agriculture and to provide the required investments to implement the management options to build knowledge and to reform and develop institutions. The focus in this paper will be on the current conditions for key water management challenges facing rain-fed agriculture from the perspective of water productivity and the water management spectrum to upgrade rain-fed farming systems.
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