Abebe Haile-Gabriel (right), Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, FAO, speaking at the press conference. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Abebe Haile-Gabriel (right), Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, FAO, speaking at the press conference. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

Let’s manage water responsibly — FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for the judicious use and management of water resources.

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It said there was the need for responsible use of water because every drop mattered, adding that people must choose alternatives of life activities that required less water.

The organisation also mentioned rainwater harvesting and storage, eating foods that required less or no water to prepare such as fresh foods, and keeping water bodies clean as some of the measures to ensure sustainability.

It further said that despite water being the driving force for nature and life, the foundation of food production, preparation and other human needs such as energy and domestic activities, it was being taken for granted.

At a press briefing to commemorate World Food Week in Accra yesterday, the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, said too many people either went without water or mismanaged it.

“Governments, the private sector, academia, farmers and civil society and individuals need to work together towards a food and water secure world. Every one of us can make a difference,” he said.

Event

The celebration of the week would be climaxed on October 16, 2023, which is designated as World Food Day.

It would be on the theme: “Water is life, and water is food.

Leave no one behind.” 

It is aimed at emphasising the importance of prudent water management amid challenges such as rapid population growth, economic development, urbanisation and climate change, which are threatening water accessibility.

The event also serves as a platform to raise awareness of hunger and inspire action for the future of food, people and the planet.

It also coincides with the founding of the FAO by the UN in 1945.

Agrifood

Mr Haile-Gabriel further said that with water being the foundation of agrifood systems, there was the urgent need to manage it wisely by ensuring its equitable distribution, preservation of aquatic ecosystems and fostering of sustainable agricultural practices.

“With water constituting over 50 per cent of our bodies and covering 71 per cent of the earth's surface, it is the vital essence of life itself.

However, only 2.5 per cent is freshwater suitable for consumption, agriculture and industrial purposes.

“Agriculture alone accounts for a staggering 72 per cent of global fresh water withdrawals.

The harsh reality is that freshwater resources per person has declined by 20 per cent over the past decades,” he said.

The FAO Representative to Ghana, Yurdi Yasmi, also said that food choices, production methods and efforts to reduce waste, all contribute to responsible water management.

"We need to produce more food and agricultural commodities with less water while preserving aquatic food systems and leaving no one behind," he said.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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