Representatives from 83 countries assisted the GFFA conference of ministers of agriculture.
Photo: Messe Berlin

26.01.2017

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What part can agriculture play world-wide in the sustainable stewardship of water and in maintaining water quality? How can it be ensured that, despite increasing water scarcity, agriculture can provide the global population with food? These questions were among the issues addressed by this year’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany.

The sustainable use of water is one of the major global challenges of the 21st century. Factors such as economic development, population growth and urbanisation are intensifying competition for the scarce resource of water. Approximately 70 per cent of the freshwater used world-wide goes into irrigation. Estimates by the United Nations suggest that global demand for water in agriculture will increase by about 20 per cent by 2050. At the same time, fertiliser, herbicide and pesticide residues are having a negative impact on water quality. How can agriculture fulfil its role of providing a growing world population with food against this background? And what contribution can the sector make to a sustainable use of the valuable resource of water? These questions were at the centre of this year’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, which was held in Berlin/Germany in late January 2017.

Human right to water violated

“Access to water is a human right!” the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, reminded the FAO High Level Panel.

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