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Regional News Thu, 15 Mar 2012

Ghana to celebrate World Water Day in Asutuare

This year World Water Day celebration in Ghana would be climax with a durbar at Asutuare in the Dangbe West District of the Greater Accra Region, and crowned with the hoisting of the United Nations (UN) and Ghana flags.

Highlights of the durbar would include keynote address by the Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Mr E. T Mensah, and the presentation of UN Secretary General’s message for the occasion.

A statement signed by Adwoa Munkua Darko, Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission, copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Wednesday, said the celebration intended to draw national attention to the relationship between water and food security.

It said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and its Natural Resources Department were coordinating this year’s celebration, on behalf of the UN-Water members and partners.

The statement said: “Food security exist when people at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preference for an active and healthy life, and water is one of the fundamental input factors to food production.

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“Research indicates that there is enough food today to feed the world. Yet, despite this, 15 per cent of the world population (854 million people) is undernourished, and with continuing population growth, rising incomes and urbanization, food demand will roughly double in the next fifty years. Over this period, the world water will have to support the agriculture system that will feed and create livelihood for an additional 2.7 billion people.

“Food security is now high on the international political agenda, following the peak prices of 2008 and the financial crisis of 2009. The prediction of increase in demand for food, energy and water in the next 20 years, driven by growing population coming out of poverty will ultimately put pressure on food prices.”

The statement said, future population growth, urbanization, changing diets and development pressure on land and water, including resources allocated to bio-fuel production and energy cost increase was all conducive to a progressive and sever water scarcity that would undermine food security.

It said: “Today we are 6.5 billion people on the planet. Expanded irrigated agriculture and agronomic advance has boosted food production and the agriculture sector. Food production at turn of this century has more than doubled compared to the situation at the beginning of the 1960s.”

The statement said agriculture, farming and growing population, accounted for 70 per cent of the total water use in the world and there was the need for water saving practices.

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It said: “it is clear that the growing global population coming out of poverty will create an increase demand for food, which will need to be produce on not much more land, using less water, fertilizer and pesticides than we have historically done. Through the 21st century, this was achievable, but must be tackled coherently with other global challenge of climate change and energy, food and water security. It is predicted that by 2030 the world will need to produce around fifty per cent more food and energy, together with 30 per cent more fresh water.

“Science has contributed greatly in the past to finding solutions, and it can do so into the future if the investments are made. We will need to fully explore the range of science and technology opportunities at our disposal in the 21st century in order to overcome the greater constraints.”

The statement said the way policy makers and water users manage water could help make the difference between a food-secured world and one which water shortage could lead to hunger, poverty and conflict.

It said: “With better water management, sound policies and increase investment in water, farmers and other water users can get more use out of each unit of water and the amount of water reserved for the environment can increase substantially.”

The statement asked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives traditional authorities, and media and the entire public to organize related activities to celebrate the day in their localities.**

Source: GNA