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Unlocking the water potential of agriculture

All statistical evidence confirms that agriculture is the key sector for water management, now and in the next decades. Nevertheless, the rural water development sector fails at present to get priority compared to other competing sectors in international fora. Strong and new arguments are needed to bring rural water back "on line".

The prospects for the future are clear. Agriculture will have to respond to changing patterns of demand for food and combat food insecurity and poverty amongst marginalized communities. In so doing, agriculture will have to compete for scarce water with other users and reduce pressure on the water environment. Agriculture policies and investments will therefore need to become much more strategic. They will have to unlock the potential of agricultural water management practices to raise productivity, spread equitable access to water, and conserve the natural productivity of the water resource base.

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