The world needs to produce an estimated 60 percent more food by 2050 to ensure global food security, and it must do so while conserving and enhancing the natural resource base. Water is a major input in the provision of food – from production in the field through all the steps in the value chain. Water is also required to meet personal and household needs, for energy and industrial production, and to maintain important water-dependent ecosystems and ecosystem services. With demand and competition for water on the rise, however, the planet’s water resources are under increasing stress due to climate change, poor management and pollution.
Agriculture holds the key to successfully achieving the objectives and aspirations articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is also crucial to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers and rural communities worldwide.
Farmers must be at the centre of any process of change in agriculture. Through appropriate policies that provide incentives and ensure effective governance, farmers can be empowered to conserve biodiversity, protect ecosystems and minimize environmental impacts.