BANGKOK, Oct 27, 2010 (IPS) - Asia’s search for ways to feed over one billion new mouths in the next 40 years is prompting experts to call for renewed faith in its wide network of irrigation systems in order to ensure adequate food production.
This push by agriculture and water experts comes at a time when concern about the region’s irrigation systems have steadily entered discussions about the impact of climate change on food security.
Rain-fed agriculture is more vulnerable to erratic weather patterns, so that the use of irrigation systems is viewed as being more dependable to farmers across the rice bowls of South Asia, South-east Asia and East Asia.
"Irrigated agriculture is a more secure platform," says Thierry Facon, senior water management officer at the Asia-Pacific office of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). "Rain-fed agriculture is less productive."
This distinction has become more stark against the backdrop of uncertain weather patterns arising from climate change. "Farmers are reluctant to invest in good seeds and fertiliser in rain-fed areas because of climate change uncertainties," Facon explained to IPS. "It is in this area that you find most of the rural poor and vulnerable populations." ...