CityCube Berlin, Level 3
Water is a critical input into agriculture in nearly all its aspects. How much, at what time and how plants are watered have a determining effect on the eventual yield; good seeds and fertilizer fail to achieve their full potential if plants are not optimally watered. As well, the livestock and especially the dairy sector highly depend on availability of water. At the same time, global agricultural productivity is severely affected by the increasing impact of stress factors caused by drought, salinity and water stress. According to estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the water and agriculture sectors are likely to be the most sensitive to climate change-induced impacts in Asia in the future. Already today, in South Asia, the percentage of surface and groundwater withdrawal as a percentage of internal renewable water resources is close to the threshold level of 60 % which is defined as “water scarcity is approaching” situation, and not too far away from the threshold of 75 %, above which the sustainable limits of water withdrawal are exceeded. And with tendencies for over-exploitation and salinity intrusion there is the risk to further reduce groundwater resources in South Asia. Almost 95 % of the withdrawn water in South Asia is consumed by the agriculture sector, a much larger proportion than the average global agricultural water use. In contrast, the region generally exhibits very limited water use in the industrial and domestic sectors. The expanding urbanization already today shows that the demand for water use in other sectors than agriculture is rising.
India, being the largest country in the sub-region, is considered as one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. The country accounts for about 17 % of the world’s population, but only 4 % of the world fresh water resources, with vast differences and variations with regard to the water resources across the country. Even though India is the highest user of groundwater for irrigation in the world, over half of food production is still dependent on rainfall. Despite the tremendous benefits of irrigation improvements, the advances have also caused considerable degradation of India’s water resources. In light of decreasing availability and escalating competition on the use of resources, there is still room for improvement with regard to water application in the sector: cross country comparison of water use efficiency show that India uses 2 to 3 times the water used to produce one ton of grain compared to countries like China, Brazil or the USA.
In order to retain and further raise productivity of the agriculture sector in the region, manifold strategies are currently discussed and pursued. Research focuses on the development of location-specific crop varieties with stronger resistance and better tolerance to stress conditions. Improved water management focuses on timely availability, with a special emphasis on the technological and procedural adaption of irrigation systems in order to ensure regular on-farm water supply which is at the same time energy as well as water efficient. Improved farming practices add to better soil structure, stability and fertility. In the framework of the expert panel, international experts from politics, academia and business will discuss how these strategies can be successfully implemented in South-Asia.
German Agribusiness Alliance at OAV – German Asia-Pacific Business Association
WELCOME AND CHAIR
Dr. Arnd Nenstiel, Chairman German Agribusiness Alliance, OAV – German Asia-Pacific Business Association
Peter Bleser, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India
Dr. S.K. Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India
Le Thi Kim Cuc, Director of Science and International Cooperation of Water Resource Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam
Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Distinguished Fellow and Senior Director, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Bhagirath Choudhary, Director, South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC)
Tommaso del Giudice, Sales Manager CREASORB, Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH
Arun Pandhi, Chief Development Manager, Sir Ratan Tata Trust