Press Release 98/46
SIX-MILLION-DOLLAR-PROGRAMME LAUNCHED TO HELP FARMERS TO GROW
"MORE CROP PER DROP"
Rome, 16 July -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
today announced a major international initiative to improve irrigation and
drainage in developing countries. A budget of over US$ 6 million is being
negotiated with the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other
donors for a three-year plan of action.
"World population will jump from today 5.8 billion to 8.3 billion people
by 2025. To meet this challenge we have to produce more food through the
intensification of rain-fed and irrigated agriculture," said Programme Manager
Arumugam Kandiah. "Irrigation more than doubles land productivity. Unfortunately,
many irrigation systems are working poorly, due to bureaucratic interference,
faulty management, lack of involvement of users and poor construction. In
some cases up to 60 percent of the water diverted for irrigation never reaches
the crop. "
"In addition, in many regions water scarcity is already a major problem and
seriously limits agricultural production. Water is becoming increasingly
limited and costly, and farmers are under pressure to grow 'more crop per
drop'. To do this, they need to know more about appropriate, efficient and
sustainable irrigation technology."
Irrigation technology in developing countries has not changed much during
the past decades and is seriously lagging behind the agricultural technology
it serves, according to FAO. Annual global expenditure in irrigation research
is no more than about US$ 300 million compared to about US$ 8 billion in
agriculture as a whole.
"Through the International Programme for Technology Research in Irrigation
and Drainage (IPTRID) we want to support farmers in finding the most
cost-effective, user-friendly and socially-acceptable irrigation and drainage
technology. The programme will not finance irrigation projects, but will
promote technology transfer and make applied research information on irrigation
drainage available to farmers and decision-makers."
"We will also assist in developing national irrigation research and development
strategies. Partners will be the ministries of water and agriculture,
non-governmental organizations, universities and the private sector," Kandiah
"The management of the programme will be small and decentralized," Kandiah
said. "The five-person Secretariat based in Rome will work through national
committees and research institutions."
The IPTRID was founded in 1991 and originally run by the World Bank. The
programme assisted in financing of some 15 projects valued at about US$ 50
million. Information was provided through ten country networks with more
than 5,000 participants.
Dissemination of knowledge and capacity building will play a bigger role
in future. The World Bank therefore decided to move IPTRID to FAO, a more
specialized organization with a wealth of expertise in irrigation. The World
Bank will remain a co-host of the programme along with UNDP, the International
Commission on Irrigation and Drainage and the International Water Management
Institute. Among the major national sponsors are the United Kingdom, France
and the Netherlands.
For further information please contact:
Media Officer, FAO/Rome
Tel. +39-06 5705-3105