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 Opportunites for producing more food with less water in dry areas

This paper examines the potential for improved water productivity in rainfed and irrigated agriculture as well as in the marginal drylands, with examples of on-farm water management, germplasm improvement and agronomic practices within an integrated natural resource management framework.

Author: Theib Y. Oweis
International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria;

Water scarcity is a serious threat to food production and sustainable livelihoods for the poor in the dry areas. Water sources are limited and water allocated to agriculture is decreasing, while the demand for food is increasing due to the rapid population growth. The most feasible option to ensure food security is to increase water productivity.

Water productivity in rainfed agriculture in the dry areas is very low. Even in irrigated areas, water productivity could be improved by changing cropping patterns and introducing precision agriculture. This paper examines the potential for improved water productivity in rainfed and irrigated agriculture as well as in the marginal drylands, with examples of on-farm water management, germplasm improvement and agronomic practices within an integrated natural resource management framework. In the dry areas, the strategy should be to maximize return per unit of water instead of unit of land. Given the increasing water scarcity, policies and institutions should be adjusted to support a culture of efficient water allocation and use in agriculture

For more details please contact ICARDA at the contact link above. (Link will be active for registered users only)

© International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), 2006


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Keywords associated to this article: water; agriculture; drylands
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