Water plays a critical role within the agriculture sector as an essential input to food production and nutrition. Agriculture uses 70% of all available fresh water making water security a key component for achieving food productivity.
World Water Day is celebrated each year on 22 March as a platform to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year, its theme is about water and food security.
In Africa, investments in irrigation and water storage per capita, are the lowest, despite the prevalence of arid and semi arid conditions that limit surface water runoff readily available for agriculture. In addition, water productivity (that is the yield per cubic meter) is the lowest.
Uncontrolled population growth and urban migration pose challenges in adequate water supply and sanitation; water pollution contributes to health hazards amongst the poorest; in urban and peri urban areas, unsafe waste water is often used for agriculture.
An Agriculture Water for Africa Partnership (AgWA) is seeking to promote increased commitments and investments in Agriculture Water Management in Africa linked to pillar 1 of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) on land and water. Its Secretariat will be hosted by the sub regional office of the FAO in East Africa (FAO SFE). FAO’s work in land and water in Africa supports this pillar.
World Water Day is preceded by the World Water Forum which takes place every three years and this year is being held in Marseille, France from 12 to 17 March 2012.