07/18/2012 05:31–Israel’s careful management of its agricultural water supply and its implementation of innovative water technologies have led to an increase in crop productivity, a report from the OECD and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has determined.
In a chapter on “Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth” in July’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2012-2021, the report reflects how Israel’s use of efficient water systems has helped farmers become more fruitful in their produce.
The purpose of the overall Agricultural Outlook is “to build a consensus on global prospects for the agriculture, fisheries and food sectors, and on emerging issues which affect them,” according to the OECD. Among the many chapters are global analyses and market projections for biofuels, cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meats, dairy products and fish and seafood for the 2012 to 2021 period.
Within the chapter on productivity growth is a section in which Israel appears, titled, “What farm practices can increase sustainable agricultural productivity growth?” The section uncovers that average productivity from natural rainwater in dry areas of North Africa and West Asia amounts to only about 0.35 to 1 kg. of wheat grain for every cu.m. of water, quoting an International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas paper drafted for a 2006 ICARDA meeting in Syria.
The ICARDA report found that with supplemental irrigation and good water management processes, that same cu.m. can produce 2.5 kg. of grain, but only looked at water efficiency systems in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Sudan Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.
Just after mentioning these ICARDA statistics, athe report praises water management in Israel, noting that “agricultural use of water in Israel decreased almost continuously from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s,” after which, the quantities became stable around 2008.
This overall diminished agricultural water use has caused agriculture’s share of total water use to drop from over 70 percent in 1980, to 57% in 2005, to an expected 52% in 2025, the report says.
The increased use of recycled sewage and desalinated water has also contributed heavily to Israeli agriculture’s significant decreased burden on the country’s water supply.
While agricultural water use is expected to begin rising again by the year 2025, it will likely do so at a much lower rate than that of urban and industrial water…Read More>>