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Symposium 2011

Proposal - Four key messages

The Challenge

Two fifths of the world’s population faces water shortages. During the coming decades, water scarcity is expected to rise as a result of a rapid increase in the demand for water due to population gr ...

Two fifths of the world’s population faces water shortages. During the coming decades, water scarcity is expected to rise as a result of a rapid increase in the demand for water due to population growth, urbanization and increasing consumption of water per capita. In addition, climate change is expected to influence the supply of water, modifying the regional distribution of freshwater resources.

Take away messages and solutions

In conditions where 90% of the water in the economy is managed by farmers at the beginning of the food supply value chain.

They manage all the green water used from the root zone and 70% of all blue water. That is 90% of society’s total use.

They have increased water productivity four times in the past half century. We need to help them further intensify BUT the intensification must be sustainable.

 

1. We must enable farmers to intensify their productivity sustainably

Increased returns to water and water resource stewardship

 

2. We must understand water in the food supply value chain

The supply chain is wholly in the water value blind private sector

The food supply chain operates in an accounting environment agreed by accountants & lawyers in:

  • the FASB in NY, IASB in London etc
  • the big 5 – PwC, KPMG, E&Y, Deloitte, Accenture
  • the private sector transnationals – eg the Non-Brands (A, B, C, D)

they handle 70% of traded food, the Brands (Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, Unilever, SABMiller, WalMart)

The accounting rules get the private sector to account for paper clips and paper cups. But not for water in the food supply chain.

 

3 Waste

We waste water in the food supply chain when we waste food.

30% is wasted between the farm gate and the market in less developed economies.

In industrialised economies families throw 30% of purchased food away. Wasted food is wasted water and wasted energy.

In developing economies 30% of food produced is lost between the farm gate and the market because storage technologies and transport are inefficient. Again lost water and energy.

 

4 Consumers

Eat badly because of their food choices.

Diets, with for example too much beef, are very bad for human and environmental health.

In industrialised economies the water and energy footprint of food consumption could be reduced by 30% by eating healthily.


1.0 bn Indians need to stay vegetarian

1.3 bn Chinese should continue to prefer pork and chicken to beef


Solutions by

Political

Remedy consequences of cheap food policies –
of .GOV & .COM alliance to satisfy voters and consumers


Social

Inform consumers on waste & food choice (obesity – human health)


Market

The private sector agents in the food supply chain have the potential to link consumers and farmers and are shaping to do it
The water and food sectors need to rethink accounting standards


Environmental

Remedy blue water scarcity hotspots – environmental health


Investment & Research

Incentivise investment in agriculture
Invest in agricultural science – public and private

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