16 october is world food day
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has chosen the theme "Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave no one behind." for this year's World Food Day on 16 October.
The amount of water on the planet is finite, making it an infinitely precious natural resource. Without it, there would be no food and no life. There are few places on Earth where water is available in sufficient quantities to meet human needs. The availability, absence or scarcity of water has marked the whole of human history and remains one of our most pressing problems. With the world population expected to reach over 9 billion by 2050, the issue of hunger prevention has never been more pressing. To effectively tackle water challenges, it is therefore necessary to ensure water efficiency in agrifood systems, appropriate ways to reuse wastewater, protect water and aquatic food systems, and to ensure affordable food for everyone.
On this World Food Day, the FAO calls for thoughtful and respectful management of water as the basis for life and food. Everyone should be aware that water is not a commodity to be taken for granted. Food production and our choice of food also have an impact on our relationship with water. Choosing local, seasonal and fresh food can have an impact on reducing water consumption, as can reducing or reusing food waste.
Water as an important factor in agriculture
In the past, favourable rainfall patterns in many parts of Slovenia made irrigation unnecessary, but climate change is forcing adaptation. One of the key measures is irrigating agricultural land. In the Republic of Slovenia, just over 6,500 hectares of agricultural land is equipped with irrigation systems.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food supports irrigation in several interventions within the framework of the 2023-2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan:
- IRP 13: Construction of multi-user irrigation systems
- IRP 14: Technological upgrading of multiuser irrigation systems
- IRP 40: Individual irrigation systems and purchase of irrigation equipment
- IRP 41: Technological upgrading of individual irrigation systems.
A stable water source is essential for irrigating agricultural land. Therefore, the setting up of new reservoirs for irrigation purposes is a very important measure. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is committed to the comprehensive implementation of water management measures, which means that measures to provide water for irrigation of agricultural land are also implemented as part of flood protection measures.
Protecting water as an important natural resource
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food promotes water and soil protection and sustainable agriculture mainly through the 2023-2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan investment measures, but also through measures contributing to several specific objectives, e.g. organic farming, Agriculture, Environment and Climate Payments, the Climate and Environment Scheme, etc.
The 2023-2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan focuses more than ever on protecting and sustainably managing natural resources, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and conserving biodiversity.
Reducing food waste
As water becomes increasingly invaluable and important for food production, the focus on reducing food waste must also be strengthened.
Food loss and waste in the food supply chain also means a loss of the water needed for food production and processing. As a result, food must be managed prudently throughout the food supply chain. An effective approach in food systems is to introduce a circular economy or bioeconomy, and to raise awareness among growers, food producers, traders, caterers and consumers.
We must ensure that food systems are sustainable, providing high-quality and healthy food for people, and generating sustainable environmental, economic and social impacts.
The website of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia provides additional information on World Food Day in relation to the state of Slovenian agriculture.
Did you know that...
- water covers about 71% of the Earth's surface?
- only 2.5% of water is fresh and suitable for drinking, agriculture and most industrial uses?
- freshwater resources per person have declined by 20% in recent decades, and water availability and quality are deteriorating due to decades of misuse and mismanagement, over-extraction of groundwater, pollution and climate change?
- 4 billion people live in water-stressed countries?
- some 600 million people who depend at least in part on aquatic food systems for their survival suffer from the effects of pollution, ecosystem degradation, unsustainable practices and climate change?