Perin Ange, the Associate Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), says combating water scarcity is an economic decision and not a technological problem.
Ange, who was on his way to Berlin to attend the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), said this in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from IFAD’s web site on Friday.
He said that though technologies may exist to ensure that poor, developing-world farmers could access the water they need to grow enough food for their communities and countries.
Ange, who would be participating in an expert panel at the GFFA, said that governments needed to invest in them.
“The international conference will focus on the global agri-food industry and provide recommendations to government ministers on how to harmonise agriculture and water policies to meet the needs of rural small-scale farmers.
“Any attempt to address water management must be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable so that we ensure long-term food security,” said Ange.
He said that approximately 80 per cent of farmers relied on rain water for their agriculture, particularly in rural areas of developing countries.
“With rainfall becoming increasingly less predictable due to climate change, these farmers are particularly vulnerable.
“We know what technology is needed to address this and that water needs to be managed and governed, but this takes political will and economic investment,” he said.
The World Economic Forum ranks water scarcity as one of the greatest long term risks facing humanity and agriculture, with irrigation alone accounting for up to 70 per cent of freshwater withdrawals.
The GFFA precedes the meeting of the G20 agriculture ministers where water is also a key theme.