U.S. Water News Online
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Africa needs to step up the use of
its abundant water resources to boost farm productivity and combat
persistent poverty and food shortages, a United Nations official
The world's poorest continent uses only 5 percent of the water in
its rivers and lakes, compared with 20 percent in Asia. Africa also
irrigates 7 percent of its arable land, compared to 42 percent in
South Asia and 36 percent in East Asia and Southeast Asia, the United
Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said.
"We therefore still have a great potential and opportunity to
address the needs of Africa in food, poverty reduction and
ecosystems," said Louise Fresco, deputy head of the organizations.
"Recent research shows that growth in agriculture is the most
beneficial for the poor, of all economic sectors," Fresco told a
pan-African conference on water for food and ecosystems.
This means Africa needs "to continue to invest in unlocking the
potential of its diversified agricultural systems -- in rain-fed
agriculture, irrigation and mixed systems," Fresco told a conference
discussing African issues and concerns that may shape the
International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems.
The international conference is set to run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5,
2005, in The Hague. It will contribute to the U.N. Commission on
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