Aug 21, 2012

New report outlines threats and opportunities for water and food security

The Stockholm International Water Institute today 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, 2012.

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.

Download it here.