Greater efforts should be taken to safeguard global water supplies and secure the future of food production, according to ministers from the world’s leading economies.
The agriculture ministers of the G20 countries pledged to improve performance in a number of areas, including water efficiency and resilience, water quality, and governance.
“We commit to approaches that improve sustainability of water use in food and agricultural production while ensuring food security and nutrition in accordance with our multilateral trade commitments,” the ministers said in a statement.
“We will better integrate the sustainable use and management of water in food and agricultural policies. This includes measures to optimise water harvesting, water and soil conservation, ground water management and water allocation systems.
“We note the benefits of a watershed-scale approach that recognises the multiple uses of water and integrates good farming practices with effective land-use planning.
“We will promote good farming practices including cover crops, conservation tillage and nutrient management in order to complement and reinforce sustainable water management.”
The G20 agriculture ministers also promised to ‘protect water and water-related ecosystems by encouraging water-friendly, sustainable agricultural practices and technologies that enhance the water quality and resilience of water bodies’.
And they will ‘commit to actions that reduce food loss and waste, acknowledging that such actions can alleviate pressure on water’.
Climate change, the growing world population and demands for industrialisation have put a strain on global water supplies, with the impact felt on rich and poor nations, Reuters noted.
“The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation warned in December that 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia need food aid as farmers struggle with the impact of repeated droughts, compelling Ethiopia to make major wheat imports,” it said.
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