Agrifood Economics

Overcoming water scarcity with sustainable irrigation

FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief 32
Year: 2020
Author(s): FAO

Irrigation can facilitate adaptation to climate change, save labour and energy, and allow the growing of higher-value crops. However, to reach Zero Hunger in an increasingly water-scarce world, irrigated agriculture must be made more equitable, efficient and sustainable. With more than 60 percent of global irrigated cropland under high water stress, irrigated agriculture is contributing to, and at the same time affected by, growing pressures on freshwater resources. Investments in expanded and improved irrigation must be accompanied by improved water governance to guarantee equitable access to water and environmental sustainability. Additionally, well-defined water rights and improved data and information on water resources and their use are cornerstones of better water governance. Coherent policies must provide appropriate incentives for equitable, efficient and sustainable water use in agriculture and other sectors.

The findings in this brief have been adapted from the FAO report The State of Food and Agriculture 2020. Overcoming water challenges in agriculture.

Publication type: Policy brief
Region: Global