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Food Day 2002


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Agriculture is responsible for about 70 percent of all the freshwater withdrawn.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 water supplies.

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 future supply.

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!".


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