Drought in some parts of the world has hurt global grain production and contributed to food price spikes virtually every other year since 2007, highlighting the need to transform the way water is used - and wasted - throughout the entire food chain. This is one of the key messages that FAO is transmitting this week at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.
The annual event brings policy makers and experts from around the globe together to discuss pressing issues related to water and its management.
Water security important for food security
In a speech made today at the Week's opening ceremony, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed that there was no food security without water security, noting that FAO's recent report, The State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture, warned that water scarcity and pollution were posing a growing risk to key food production systems around the world.
Agriculture, as practiced today was one of the causes of this phenomenon, as it represented 70% of all freshwater uses.
But, he also noted, the food production sector also offered tremendous potential for changing how the world uses water.Framework for water management
Toward that end, FAO is proposing a new framework for water management in agriculture: Coping with water scarcity: An action framework for agriculture and food security.
FAO's framework stresses in particular the importance of modernisation of irrigation, better storage of rain water at farm level, recycling and re-using water, pollution control, substitution and reduction of food waste and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
World Water Week has been convened annually since 1991 by the Stockholm International Water Institute. FAO and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are collaborating partners for the 2012 edition which focuses on water and food security.