Training on exact water quantity measuring in Tajikistan.
Photo: Muzaffar Ahkmedov


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Unsustainable use of water is becoming a huge problem. The innovative push-pull-policy approach addresses this issue by involving all stakeholders in promoting better agricultural practices, creating financial incentives to use them and improving governance to sustain them.

 Water productivity – or the ratio of agricultural output per unit of water input – is important for increasing food security. More than two-thirds of human water consumption is used for agriculture. As climate change advances, water is becoming a scarce resource, further threatening the already fragile state of agriculture in many countries and creating a growing risk of conflict over rights to water resources. Addressing water issues is thus a key component for achieving sustainable development, reducing hunger while promoting peace and economic well-being.

Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation is the consortium leader of a multi-sectoral group of actors who are rolling out an innovative approach through the Water and Productivity Project (WAPRO, see Box). The goal is to address inefficient irrigation practices in smallholder farming. To tackle this problem, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Helvetas jointly developed the push-pull-policy approach. Actors from the private sector, civil society and standard bodies joined forces to address challenges of water scarcity and sustainable irrigation management.

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