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The water we eat – tackling scarcity in ACP countries

Published by:
Publication date
Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
Working Papers & Briefs
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Capacity Development
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk reduction/mitigation
CTA Policy Briefs

The rate at which we consume water has grown twice as fast as the world population over the past century, with many countries now suffering from water scarcity. Approximately 90% of the water gathered through irrigation and rainfall is used to produce food. To keep pace with population growth and dietary changes, the amount of water used by agriculture will have to double by 2050 – unless we change our patterns of production and consumption.

At the Brussels Development Briefing on The Water We Eat 1, experts highlighted the measures required if future generations are to make sustainable use of the world’s finite supply of water. Policy-makers worldwide should pay greater attention to the agricultural use of water. ACP countries should introduce initiatives to help farmers improve their productivity per unit of water consumed. There should be a strong emphasis on small-scale, low-cost methods of improving rain-fed farming. Steps should be taken to improve access to water, especially for women and the rural poor in ACP countries. There is an urgent need for better water governance, both within and between countries.

This is the second in a series of policy briefs by CTA. The peer-reviewed CTA Policy Briefs address a broad range of agricultural and rural development-related issues. Topics presented are taken from findings and conclusions from the Brussels Development Briefings, Regional Development Briefings and key CTA events. They are available in print and online in English and French.

In contrast to other policy briefs, these provide essential information not only for the policymaker but for all those involved in furthering agricultural and rural development. They should help to initiate greater dialogue between those creating policies and those in the field in ACP countries