Major threats and opportunities for water and food security

Major threats and opportunities for water and food security

The Stockholm International Water Institute released its report “Feeding a thirsty world: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure world“, which will provide official input into the discussions to take place at the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm on August 26-31.

Authored by a dozen experts from SIWI, the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the report provides new evidence that shows how continuing current trends in food production could lead to increased shortages and intense competition for scarce water resources in many regions across the world.

The report notes that 900 million people are hungry and two billion more people are under nourished in spite of the fact that per capita production continues to increase. With 70 per cent of all water withdrawals used in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land.

“Feeding everyone well is a primary challenge for this century. Overeating, undernourishment and waste are all on the rise and increased food production may face future constraints from water scarcity,” said report editor Dr. Anders Jägerskog. “We will need a new recipe to feed the world in the future.”

The authors spotlight a number of essential and largely overlooked challenges where dedicated action can help ensure food security to a growing global population with available water resources. These include:

  • improvements in on-farm water efficiency, 
  • reductions in losses and waste in the food supply chain, 
  • enhanced response networks to early warning systems for agricultural emergencies, 
  • and increased investment to close the gender gap in agricultural production. 
The report also investigates the impact of the recent surge in foreign direct investment to lease land in developing countries on local and regional water resources, a phenomenon that requires more stringent regulation to ensure that the water and land rights of local farming communities are upheld.

Related: Farmer-led irrigation schemes could transform food security in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia. Study shows potential for smallholder water management innovations to boost crop yields and household revenue by tens of billions of US dollars

Media Release: Farmer-led irrigation schemes could transform food security in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Synthesis report: Water for wealth and food security: 

New research sheds light on huge potential of farmer-led innovation in water solutions. Results suggest that water management investment priorities should be reassessed to boost global food security and poverty alleviation.

Seminar: Sunday 26 August at Stockholm 
Investment Scenario Modeling Tool: to compare agricultural water investment options

26-31 August 2012. Stockholm, Sweden. World Water Week is hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and takes place each year in Stockholm. The theme for 2012 is: Water and Food Security.

26/08 Smallholder Agriculture + Water = Solutions to Rural Poverty & HungerCountry Perspectives: Achieving Policy Change by Linking Research with Decision Making

  • Ghana: Food, Water, Energy Nexus. Mr. Ben Nyamadi, Ghana Irrigation Development Authority
  • Tanzania: Government Investment in Smallholder Irrigation. Eng. Mbogo Futukamba, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives and Prof. Nuhu Hatibu, Kilimo Trust

26/08 Communities of Practice, Financial and Institutional Tools for Sustainable Water Management in Africa

Panel Discussion on Way Forward. Panelists:

  • Prof. Jumanne Maghembe (MP), Minister for Water, Tanzania
  • Dr. Laurent G. Sedogo, Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, Burkina Faso, Sering Jallow, (AfDB OWAS)
  • Prof. A Szollosi-Nagy, (UNESCO-IHE)
  • Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, (GWP)
  • Mr. Dominic Waughray, (WEF-WRG)

Managing African Water Resources: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Co-Chair: Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu, MP, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Kenya and Hon. Issoufou Issaka, Minister for Hydraulic and Environment, Niger 
  • Moderator: Dr. Joakim Harlin (UNDP)
Regassa Namara, Senior Economist & Head of IWMI West Africa office GHANA, talks about outgrower farming schemes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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