Smart irrigation – Smart wash: solutions in response to the pandemic crisis in Africa
Agriculture has been the engine of overall economic growth in developing countries, whereby agriculture significantly contributes to national GDPs, rural employment levels, household food security and trade balance. The crisis generated by the spreading of COVID-19, however, is already affecting food systems under different dimensions and threatens the gains so far achieved in poverty reduction, inequality and underdevelopment. Improving the productivity and efficiency of agriculture is now more relevant than ever and, undoubtedly, exploiting irrigation potential is fundamental to enhance food security. Nevertheless, expanding irrigation entails a considerable growth in water use, which, however, cannot come at the expense of water resources needed for sanitation and hygiene (WASH). A SMART Irrigation- SMART WASH twin-track approach has been developed by the Land and Water Division of FAO, illustrated in a new discussion paper, to address these issues.