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Water: The lifeline of food security – Myjoyonline

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This year’s World Food Day shines a spotlight on one of the world’s most precious, and threatened, resources: water. Water is life. Water is food. It is the cornerstone of rural livelihoods. Yet too often it is taken for granted.
Each year, World Food Day is observed on October 16. It marks the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945 and is an opportunity to spark conversations about our food, how it is produced and all its dimensions: availability, accessibility, utilization and stability.
This World Food Day is being marked in the broader context of the climate crisis which is causing extreme weather events such as prolonged droughts and devastating floods. These wreak havoc on our ecosystems and food security.
Only 2.5% of all water is fresh, meaning it is suitable for drinking and agriculture. Freshwater resources per person have declined by 20 percent in the past decades, and water availability and quality are deteriorating fast due to decades of poor management and increased pollution from human activities.
Agriculture is the largest user of the world’s freshwater resources – accounting for more than 70 percent of total water withdrawal. Agriculture must therefore undergo a transformation to create agrifood systems that are more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable to address the water challenge.
In Ghana, a nation blessed with abundant natural resources, the importance of water for food security cannot be overstated. Agriculture in Ghana is mostly rain-fed, meaning farmers rely heavily on the rains rather than irrigation to grow their crops. Southern Ghana benefits from having two rainy seasons, enabling farmers to produce two harvests, compared to the north’s single rainy season. But climate change is causing unpredictable rainfall patterns which means counting on traditional annual harvests is no longer a reliable option for farmers.
With many communities relying on agricultural livelihoods, it is easy to see how important water is in Ghana and the urgent need for concerted actions to best manage it. This also extends to various livelihoods across the agricultural value chain as well as extension industries.  It is easy to observe the importance of utilizing proactive and intentional approaches to better protect, conserve and manage Ghana’s water resources, treating them with the same importance as we would life.
Make every drop count
Together, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are working to boost food security in Ghana. Some of this work includes promoting science and innovation to solve water scarcity such as deploying drip-irrigation and solar-powered irrigation systems, supporting community initiatives to avoid conflict over water, promoting water safety for food safety, and promoting gender equality such as sharing water-fetching responsibilities between men, women, boys, and girls.
In our quest to ensure food security for all, we are urging action to harness the power of science, innovation, data, and technology to produce more food with less water, and to make every drop of water count.
Individuals play an important role. You can help by choosing water-friendly foods such as in-season and locally-grown foods that typically require less water to produce. By incorporating foods like pulses, millets, and nuts into our diets, you can not only reduce water usage but also add diversity to your plate.
Avoiding food waste means avoiding wasting the water used to grow the food. Take shorter showers, fix leaking pipes and irrigation canals, don’t let the tap run, re-use water when you can, and develop and use water-efficient crop varieties. Harvest and use rain water. Instal water saving technologies to reduce the amount of water wasted.
There is the need for collective effort to protect and preserve water ecosystems. Curbing deforestation, protecting water bodies and mitigating climate change related risks.
Communities can raise their voices. Policy makers can ensure fair, effective and efficient use of water.
Ensuring water security is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Without water security, we have no food security.
On this World Food Day, let us renew our commitment to the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development. Together, we can drive water action for a water-secure future.
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