Irrigation’s Role in Ensuring Global Food Security

Luke Reynolds

Irrigation Association

Fairfax, VA

  • Sustainable Water Management

Irrigation’s Role in Ensuring Global Food Security

Irrigated agriculture contributes 40% of the global food supply despite only being 20% of the world’s cultivated land, according to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

The metrics are notable but must be taken into consideration with broader context, according to Jippe Hoogeveen, senior technical officer in the FAO Land and Water Division.

How does smart irrigation support food security?

“There are two sides of irrigation,” he says. “Agriculture is the biggest water-using sector, with agriculture using globally about 70% of all the water withdrawal for human use. Industry uses 20% and domestic use is about 10%. It’s really a lot of water that’s being used.”

Hoogeveen says that number can be disconcerting but should be measured against the flipside of irrigation.

“There is also the other side of irrigation, and that is that it gives, indeed, much higher yields and much more reliable yields,” he says.

Nebraska is a good example of an area where irrigation contributes to stability when it comes to crop production, according to Peter McCornick, Ph.D., executive director at the Daughtery Water for Food Institute.

To continue reading, please visit this article at Irrigation Today here.

Smart Irrigation Month: What’s the Value of Smart Irrigation? Global food security.
July is Smart Irrigation Month. Find out more at the Irrigation Association’s website.
Image courtesy of the Irrigation Association.
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