Water-wise solutions from Agricultural Biotechnology

19.09.2011

 

Water-wise solutions from Agricultural Biotechnology

Fresh water is one of the world’s most valuable resources and in the future it is going to be even more precious. Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water use; if current trends continue, predicted water shortages in agriculture have been identified as the single most significant constraint on crop production over the next 50 years. The problem is compounded when put into context with the UN FAO projections that 70 percent more food will need to be produced to feed an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050.

Water stress areas in Europe are expected to increase from 19% today to 35% by 2070

Once water shortages were rarely associated with European climates. Today however, DG Agriculture’s report entitled “Adaption to Climate Change: the Challenge for European Agriculture and Rural Areas” clearly outlines concerns for the future. Published in April 2009, the document states that high water stress areas are expected to increase from 19% today to 35% by 2070 implying “significant changes in the quality and availability of water resources”. This is contextualised by the information that more than 80% of EU farmland is currently rain-fed.