July 26, 2019 | By Peter G McCornick

Featured Commentary - Water Management for Highly Productive Agriculture – Transplanting Knowledge

Editor's Note: Agri-Pulse and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs are teaming up to host a monthly column to explore how the U.S. agriculture and food sector can maintain its competitive edge and advance food security in an increasingly integrated and dynamic world.

By 2050 we’ll need to produce and provide food and water for nearly 10 billion people, many of whom will live in some of the world’s poorest, most water short, albeit fastest growing, regions. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the population is set to double in this timeframe, many countries have set goals to increase agricultural production to meet national food demands. Delivering on these goals will require increased water use, either from better utilizing rainfall or some form of irrigation. Achieving these goals is especially challenging in sub-Saharan Africa, where efforts to date have often been disappointing, with yields and water productivity stubbornly low. That said, there has been encouraging water and agricultural progress in recent years in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Morocco and elsewhere.

In the United States, agricultural water management continues to evolve, with solutions addressing specific local conditions. In the case of Nebraska, which is relatively rich in natural resources, including the Ogallala Aquifer and the Platte River, and usually sufficient rainfall in the eastern portion of the state, it has carefully managed its water resources through localized governance agencies (Natural Resources Districts) and taken advantage of center-pivot irrigation systems to become one of the most highly productive agricultural states in the US. Tapping into the expertise of the University of Nebraska’s faculty, the state is cultivating the next generation of researchers, water managers, agricultural producers and industry leaders. The state also benefits from investments in infrastructure, including ready access to roads, energy, equipment, financing, storage and markets.   

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About

The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA

Archive

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