Water: source of Food Security
On 16 October 2002, World Food Day activities in Bolivia, Burundi and Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon and Chile, India, Italy and Iran and more than a hundred other countries around the world, marked the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 16 October 1945.
The theme for World Food Day 2002 was: Water: source of Food Security. Food fairs, field visits, exhibitions, concerts, ceremonies, seminars and radio and television broadcasts took place worldwide to heighten public awareness about water as a source of food security and to promote better understanding of the measures that need to be taken to ensure its future supply.
At FAO Headquarters in Rome, a major World Food Day ceremony was held. The keynote speaker was His Excellency, Hugo Cháves Frias, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and there were statements by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf and by His Excellency Gianni Alemanno, Minister of Agricultural and Forestry Policies of Italy. A message from His Holiness Pope John Paul II was read, and Mr Diouf appointed five new FAO Ambassadors and awarded prizes to the winners of this year's United Nations Women's Guild World Food Day poster competition. In the afternoon non-governmental organizations met at FAO to discuss the problem of water scarcity in food production.
For more information about World Food Day activities around the world click here.
World Food Day 2002 focused on the essential role water plays in ensuring sustainable food resources for a growing world population.
The world's future food production depends on the availability of adequate and sustainable water resources. Water covers three quarters of the Earth, but only a small fraction is accessible as freshwater. Indeed, water is a precious but finite resource.
Agriculture is responsible for about 70 percent of all the freshwater withdrawn. So, we can expect that more and more water will be used for irrigation, as world food production increases. An FAO study of 93 developing countries indicates that some water-scarce nations are already withdrawing water supplies faster than they can be renewed.
At the global level, there is enough water available, but some countries and regions will face serious water shortages. And by 2030, many developing countries will have increased water withdrawals for irrigation; most countries have sufficient water resources to do so, however, one in five developing countries will be suffering water shortage.
At the same time, there is growing competition between water needed for agriculture and water for domestic use in burgeoning cities and ever-expanding industrial developments. So, today the world must act wisely to conserve, preserve and improve its water supplies.
FAO is convinced that one key solution is to improve water management, so that water is more efficiently used. Regions where water scarcity is a threat should look seriously at making the necessary policy changes and investments to improve water development, conservation and use. But, we must also step up efforts to increase agricultural productivity. By using better seeds, boosting soil fertility and implementing other agricultural techniques, farmers can produce higher yields, obtaining the greatest gains from precious water supplies.
This year, World Food Day 2002 had a special meaning as FAO joins with the international community to promote the sustainable use of this essential global resource.
Renowned celebrities in the FAO Ambassadors Programme and FAO's Telefood campaign, spreads the World Food Day 2002 message around the world: "The world can find enough water to produce the food needed for future generations, if we manage water wisely, now!"