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Emerging Practices from Agricultural Water Management in Africa and the Near East

Thematic workshop - CIHEAM Bari, Bari, Italy - 28-31 August 2017


The development of the water sector is crucially important to cope with water scarcity and with increasing food demand, particularly in countries where agriculture plays an important role both in economic and social development accounting up to 60 percent of total labour force. Notwithstanding the importance of the sector, productivity levels are lagging behind the full potential. There are several alarming facts, such as that without improved efficiency measures, agricultural water consumption is expected to increase by about 20% globally by 2050. Or, that in regions where crops are entirely rain-fed, a reduction of 50% in the seasonal rainfall may result in a total crop failure. 

Today, aspects of water management are getting intensively interrelated and connected. The debate on devastating climate extremities and water scarcity cannot be brought to success without considering the environmental background, the social impacts, the economic consequences, technical limits, and the policies harmonized. It can be readily accepted that success depends on a more multidisciplinary, more comprehensive, and more cooperative approach.

Jointly organized by the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), the Land and Water Division (CBL) of FAO, and the Partnership for Agricultural Water in Africa (AgWA), the Thematic Workshop on “Emerging Practices form Agricultural Water Management in Africa and the Near East” was held in Bari for the period from 28 to 31 August 2017. The main objectives of the workshop were to share experiences/best practices, and promote knowledge amongst a wide-range of partners including government and inter-government organizations; research, educational and training institutions; financing institutions; and international water management networks around seven thematic areas of agricultural water management included in four projects implemented by FAO.

These main driving questions guided participants throughout the three days of the thematic workshop: 

  1. How far have the seven thematic areas been applied in target countries?
  2. What are the proven strengthens and weaknesses of applied approaches?
  3. How can the experiences gained be extended in and beyond target countries?

These seven thematic areas were considered:

  • Crop Water Productivity
  • Water Use Efficiency
  • Water Harvesting
  • Conjunctive Use of Surface and Groundwater
  • New Techniques in Measuring Water
  • Water Accounting
  • Solar Energy for Irrigation

The four projects are:

‘Reduce Vulnerability in Jordan in the Context of Water Scarcity and Increasing Food/Energy Demand’ – funded by the Government of the Swiss Confederation.

‘Coping with water scarcity – the role of agriculture/Phase III: Strengthening national capacities’: Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt’ – funded by the Government of Italy.

‘Strengthening Agricultural Water Efficiency and Productivity on the African and Global Level’ – Burkina Faso, Morocco and Uganda’ – funded by the Government of the Swiss Confederation.

‘Technical Audit of Farm-level Irrigation Modernization Project (FIMP) in Egypt’ – funded by the World Bank through the Government of Egypt.

The four day workshop – including a one-day field visit – reached a common view and clear measures were defined to improve Agricultural Water Management both from a theoretical and practical standpoint integrating lessons learned from the current approaches and methodologies. 

Infographic: Emerging Practices form Agricultural Water Management in Africa and the Near East >>

Download the Concept Note from the Thematic Workshop >>>