World Water Day 2012: Putting Food Security on the Agenda

Water and Food Security.

As the world celebrates the World Water Day on 22nd March 2012 under the theme "Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty because we are Hungry", ACORD joins the rest of Africa in marking this important day. This year's commemoration focuses on the close link between water use and food production. According to the Centre for Disease Control, food production accounts for 70% of all water use, more than the amount needed for domestic and industrial use combined.

Promoting Effective Pastoralist Practices in Burkina Faso

In recent years, ACORD's intervention in Burkina Faso has been oriented towards the strengthening of the capacities of small producers of milk, primarily women. Focusing on pastoralism and food sovereignty, ACORD puts every effort to support and strengthen civil society organisations, especially women, ensuring that they are pursuing effective and sustainable solutions and contributing to food security. The support has also focused on the acquisition of animals and forage seeds.

The local farmers have experienced difficulties accessing land and water, with the women being more seriously affected. This situation is not any better for rural women who require farming space, fertile soil and water to produce enough food. But there is some positive news. A group known as Songa Taaba who are producing and processing milk in Koudougou town, have with ACORD's support, acquired additional land in the area designated for the construction of their processing unit.

Burkina Faso: cows feeding on cultivated
and processed fodder.

The pastoralists are encouraged to grow their own fodder crops to feed their animals. They are also accessing water supply from a nearby borehole to facilitate the milk production. The changes witnessed as a result of the food security project are quite significant and provide a glimmer of hope for better futures in Burkina Faso as the project continues to have a direct and positive impact on the food security situation.

Some noticeable changes have been observed in the communes of Léne, Po, Paa, and Kayibo where pastoralists, especially women, have adopted new skills and approaches through the conservation of natural forage and other forage crops management to address the thorny problem of scarcity during the dry season.

"Today, things have changed. Women are boldly rolling their sleeves and getting to work collecting the fodder crops with enthusiasm. This is adding vital nutrition to their dairy cows and the increase in milk production is having a positive impact on their incomes", says a farmer from Léne in Burkina Faso.

According to UN Water, each person drinks from 2 to 4 liters of water every day; however most of the water drunk is embedded in the food we eat. Producing 1 kilogram of beef for example requires 15,000 litres of water. On average, a kilogram of cultivated forage grass that dairy cows consume would require 1,500 litres.

The strategy for enhancing food security includes: ensuring access to nutritious food, effective water use and storage to encourage healthy sustainable diets. Consumption of less water-intensive products, reduction of excessive food wastage and production of more food, with less water consumption are other ways to promote food security.

ACORD in Burkina Faso is strengthening marginalised farmers to defend their rights to food and to contribute to food sovereignty at national level. Capacity building and advocacy are at the heart of this programme and we work in alliance with local and regional partners to improve agricultural policies and their implementation.

Pastoralism in West Africa

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