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Participate in the CA

Share your views in CA forum on irrigation

CA framing questions: How will future investments in irrigation contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in a sustainable way?

What contribution can irrigation play to ensure food security, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability and what changes are needed in management of irrigation to optimize the return from investments?

The last 50 years have seen massive investments in irrigation infrastructure, as part of a global effort to increase world food production and avoid devastating famine. With sustained progresses in agriculture, the world food system is now in a position to satisfy the needs of its growing population, sometimes at the expenses of the natural resource base. Yet 850 million people, most of them in rural areas, still suffer hunger, and 1 billion people live in abject poverty. The paradigm of rapid increase in food production that justified investments in the past is not valid any more. Irrigation faces new challenges: producing more food of better quality while using less water per unit of output; providing rural people with resources and opportunities to live a healthy and productive life; applying clean technologies that ensure environmental sustainability; and contributing in a productive way to the local and national economy.

This chapter reviews the conditions and trends in irrigation and provides guidance on investments and management options for irrigation in the forthcoming decades. These options vary from one place to another and among farming systems.


CA purpose: To better understand the challenges ahead for irrigation and help designing appropriate strategies for future investment in irrigation development and management.

A participatory writing process

The CA is designed as a learning process, engaging networks of stakeholders to produce knowledge synthesis. The main output of the CA is a Synthesis Report that aims to guide investment and management decisions in the forthcoming decades in the field of water management for agriculture.

The chapter writing team favour a regular consultation while writing their synthesis chapter on irrigation.

The authors encourage you to submit comments, examples, and all documents you deem relevant. They are particularly keen to get evidence, such as documented case studies to capture the wide range of geographic and socio-economic situations in which irrigation has a role to play and illustrate practically the main messages of the chapter. 

References and links