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Helping to Build a World Without Hunger
  FAO Water  
6th World Water Forum
Multiple use of water MUS
Water Scarcity
World Water Forum 6
Theme Water & Food Security
The 9 Targets
T1: Rainfed agriculture
T2: Irrigated agriculture
T3: Productivity
T4: Wastewater
T5: Water storage
T6: Planning
T7: Groundwater
T8: Food waste
T9: Small-holders
    Information Resources
Modernization of Irrigation Systems
Modernization of Irrigation Systems
Topics WWF6 | Theme 2.2| Target 9
Small-holder farmers

Support the small-holders farmers in order to better manage agricultural water, produce more goods and services and reduce by 50% by 2020 the proportion of smallholder farmers without access to water training and water credit.


Better conserve, manage and value agricultural water (rainfall, irrigated) in sensitive rural areas, either socially (poor areas) or physically (mountains, arid areas), in order to maintain or improve goods and services production, including environmental services, and revenues. By 2015, elaborate international agricultural water-related guidelines for national strategies, and elaborate by 2020 10 agricultural water-related national plans aiming to support the small-holders farmers and 20 innovative pilot programs. These national plans will be elaborated in close consultation with the stakeholders, and in particular the small-holder associations.

About the target

We want to advocate towards political decision-makers, in favour of the agricultural water access of small holders farmers, both in the South and in the North, to hold down their situation deterioration, guarantee their water rights and increase their goods and services production and revenues.

In a context of continuous increase of agricultural prices since 2008, the stake is important because the small holder farmers (including pastoralists and fishermen), is amber the main victim and, it is our conviction, the main solution against the scourge of hunger and malnutrition . The small holders farming is characterized by a high productivity by surface unit thanks to available in low quantity resources optimal management: land and water.

However, the question of agricultural water access and effluents treatment by small holders is too often neglected. The governments and the development aid often favour capital and inputs high intensity agriculture, guessed to be more productive while its environmental impacts and water withdrawal are negative.

The agricultural water access defence in favour of the small-holders farmers and minimum investments to improve water collection, management and distribution farming practices are two indispensable measures to contribute to world alimentation security and facilitate vulnerable population adaptation.

We want also to measure the impacts of producing and paying for environmental services: water conservation and reduction of soil erosion and flooding, ‘clean’ water production for downstream users, system resilience to droughts improvements, carbon capture...

The cost/benefits ratio is very advantageous because those investments are often not very costly. This needs anyway a determined action to enforce the small-holders farming capacities and a legal and institutional accompaniment.

Take several innovative solutions in favour of a more equitable water sharing which take more into account the small-holder farmers needs such as: improvement in management of agricultural water services and resource, innovation in the water technologies to support the small-holders farmers in order to better manage agricultural water to produce more goods and services and the promotion of the concept of an ‘Agricultural Water Governance for small-holders farmers’ in nations.

The support the small-holders farming presents in the end undeniable social and economical benefits because it holds down the drift from the land, create or maintain employment in the rural areas and equilibrate food offer and demand between towns and countries in a context of population increase, climatic global warming and pour water access competition between users.

This advocacy should lead to recommendations shared first between water direct users, then secondly between political decision-makers.
It is necessary to take into account gender because women represent a majority of small holder farmers in many countries.

As an example, Coordination sud proposes 7 actions in favour of more equitable water sharing which takes more into account the small-holders farming needs:

  1. guarantee the water usage historical rights and equitable access to agricultural water;
  2.  inscribe the water right to ensure food security, in the national and international rights (agricultural water withdrawal right, livestock water right, water for fishing right);
  3.  support the set-up of water management concerted spaces and instruments multi-stakeholders assuring the participation of small-holders farmers representatives ;
  4.  reinforce the small-holders farmers capacities and associate them to the water management decision making;
  5. increase and re-orientate state investments, international public development aid and from collectivities toward modest cost programs in favour of agricultural water;
  6. favour investments which aim another water-related « modernization » of the small-holders farmers, by already existing practices of collective and individual management of the resource improvement and adaptation ;
  7. promote agricultural water control efficient and affordable techniques: both those of the South and adapted technologies of the North.

the OMD n°1 : eliminate extreme poverty and hunger

130 French NGO’s

Interactive Map:
Water and the Rural Poor

Static Map:
Potential for poverty reduction through water interventions

see where MASSCOTE has been applied
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