How Africa can up its game on water management for agriculture
By Andrew Slaughter
Global agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges. It’s estimated that the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050 with an ever expanding middle class. Current food production levels will have to be increased by 70% to meet future nutrition requirements.
At the same time, the challenges posed by climate change, water, nutrients and energy are converging.
About 12 million hectares of land become degraded each year. Droughts and floods are becoming more frequent and larger. For a host of reasons Africa is at the eye of this storm. Some reasons include the fact that southern Africa has already lost 25% of its soil fertility. And some countries on the continent have some of the highest population growth rates globally.
All of these issues must be tackled. And good water management is among the most crucial factors if Africa is to navigate an uncertain future. Water is essential for agriculture. African countries must, as a matter of urgency, develop coherent and strategic policies around water, land and agriculture.
Photo courtesy of Global Water Forum.