Faced with the combined effects of climate change and the increasing world population, farm irrigation is more than ever a topic of growing interest. From October 12-16, scientists, stakeholders in the field and international political personalities will be meeting in Montpellier to discuss and debate innovations to improve irrigation efficiency.
A challenge for world farming
The challenge for world farming is considerable: we will have to double production by 2050 to feed the future population of 9.5 billion people, while climate scenarios indicate a decrease in fresh water resources available in most areas of the world.
Because irrigation triples land productivity and ensures 40 % of food production, it appears to be one of the possible solutions for farming to adapt to climate change. Irrigation is also an undeniable tool for food safety, especially in arid areas where rain-fed farming does not provide sufficient quantities or diversity (e.g., Mediterranean basin, Asia and Central America).
In an effort to sustainably manage water resources and enable fair sharing among human and ecological uses, irrigation techniques have been greatly improved, including water-saving methods, reuse of wastewater and the implementation of new modes of governance.
A 5-day international conference
To build on this momentum and promote discussions, AFEID (French Association for Water, Irrigation and Drainage) will be bringing together scientists, actors and political figures on October 12-16 to discuss the theme "Innovating to improve irrigation efficiency."
One of the highlights of this conference organized under the auspices of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), for which AFEID is the national committee, is a round table at 11am on October 12 that will bring together Indonesian, Ugandan and Burmese ministers on the theme "policies to ensure sustainable food supply through irrigated farming that adapts to and reduces climate change." Stéphane Le Foll, the French Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, will participate remotely.
Irstea has long been involved in the AFEID and will participate in the event by organizing conferences and technical visits to scientific experiment sites in Montpellier.
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