World Food Day
2002 will focus on the essential role water plays in ensuring sustainable
food resources for a growing world population. World Food Day is observed
throughout the world on the anniversary of FAO's founding, 16 October 1945.
The world's future food production depends on the availability of adequate
and sustainable water resources. Water covers three quarters of the Earth,
but only a small fraction is accessible as freshwater. Indeed, water is a
precious but finite resource.
Agriculture is responsible for about 70 percent of all the freshwater
withdrawn. So, we can expect that more and more water will be used for
irrigation, as world food production increases. An FAO study of 93 developing
countries indicates that some water-scarce nations are already withdrawing
water supplies faster than they can be renewed.
At the global level, there is enough water available, but some countries and
regions will face serious water shortages. And by 2030, many developing
countries will have increased water withdrawals for irrigation; most
countries have sufficient water resources to do so, however, one in five
developing countries will be suffering water shortage.
At the same time, there is growing competition between water needed for
agriculture and water for domestic use in burgeoning cities and
ever-expanding industrial developments. So, today the world must act wisely
to conserve, preserve and improve its water supplies.
FAO is convinced that one key solution is to improve water management, so
that water is more efficiently used. Regions where water scarcity is a threat
should look seriously at making the necessary policy changes and investments
to improve water development, conservation and use . But, we must also step
up efforts to increase agricultural productivity. By using better seeds,
boosting soil fertility and implementing other agricultural techniques,
farmers can produce higher yields, obtaining the greatest gains from precious
This year, World Food Day 2002 will have a special meaning as FAO joins with
the international community to promote the sustainable use of this essential
global resource . Around the world, many activities will be held to heighten
public awareness about water, as a source of food security and to promote
better understanding of the measures that need to be taken to ensure its
Renowned celebrities in the FAO Ambassadors Programme and FAO's Telefood
campaign, will spread the World Food Day 2002 message around the world: "The
world can find enough water to produce the food needed for future
generations, if we manage water wisely, now!".