Institution urges water ministers to combat water scarcity

Associate Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Perin Saint Ange, urged water ministers of developing countries to combat water scarcity and help farmers access the water they need to grow enough food for their communities and countries. 

The official stated that while technologies may exist to ensure poor, developing-world  governments need to invest in them. He made the rematrk en route to the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany.

Saint Ange is participating in an expert panel at the GFFA – an international conference focused on the global agri-food industry – and will provide recommendations to government ministers on how to harmonise agriculture and water policies to meet the needs of rural small-scale farmers.

“Any attempts to address water management must be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable so that we ensure long-term food security,” said Saint Ange.

Approximately 80 per cent of farmers rely 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. We know that water needs to be managed and governed. But this takes political will and economic investment,” said Saint Ange.

The World Economic Forum ranks water scarcity as one of the greatest long-term risks facing humanity and agriculture is a particularly thirsty business, 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.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, IFAD have provided about $18 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 462 million people.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.