SEARCA leads water resource assessment for agriculture

AN intergovernment treaty organization hosted by the Philippine government is holding an international workshop to take stock of research, policy and initiatives toward sustainable water resource management systems for food security in Southeast Asia.

Glenn Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) director, said the three-day workshop would be participated by officials and technical staff of ministries of agriculture and national water and irrigation related agencies in Southeast Asia.

"The intention is to develop an umbrella program that could serve as a platform for collaboration across participating institutions and other partners working in Southeast Asia," he added.

The workshop would also be attended by local governments, irrigators' and farmers' associations, academe and research, and international organizations. They convened in Los Baños, Laguna starting Wednesday and would conclude discussion till Friday.

According to the World Bank, over 70 percent of freshwater is used for agriculture in most regions of the world.

It said that by 2050, feeding a planet of 9 billion people would require an estimated 50-percent increase in agricultural production and a 15-percent increase in water withdrawals.

With this, Gregorio said the workshop would review current initiatives toward sustainable water resource management for food security in Southeast Asia in order to distill needs and gaps that research and development, capacity building and knowledge management may address.