FAO to boost agricultural productivity in water scarce African countries, develops new tool to track water usage
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 21-Apr-2017

Rome, April 21: Using water efficiently is very important to boost agricultural productivity, especially in water-scarce countries. With the growth in population, water usage is surging. On the other hand, climate change is resulting in droughts and lowering the available water for agriculture. To measure the efficiency of water usage, keeping the problem of water-scarce countries in mind, Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) has designed WaPOR to track water productivity by using real-time satellite data.

To achieve the aim ‘produce more food with less water’, FAO has developed this high technology tool. The countries from Africa which are soon to face water scarcity, they are in the key focus of this project. Hence to solve water scarcity problems, FAO’s team of information technology and land and water officers are working in this $10 million project funded by the Government of the Netherlands.

The WaPOR is giving open access to the database to help farmers for their agricultural productivity and proper observation of water supply system. WaPOR helps to analyze the utilization of water meticulously and to show the most productive use of water with empirical evidence.

Maps providing the statistics of biomass and agricultural production for per cubic meter of water are produced by satellite data and Google Earth computing power. The maps can be updated every one to ten days and can be used to see an area of 30 to 250 meters.

To monitor a certain set of irrigation schemes or to support modern plans, the tool can be used. This will help to create a path for reliable and cost effective water services adapted to increased climate variability. This will help to improve their livelihood and sustainable lifestyle growth.

"Supporting smallholder farmers with access to geospatial information that can optimize water availability and curb their vulnerability to climate change is a key mission for FAO and this is an important first step," said FAO Assistant Director-General René Castro, head of the Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department.