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Irrigated agriculture is strategic for food sovereignty, says GPP expert

In an event to mark the National Day of Irrigated Agriculture – celebrated this June 15th – GPP researcher Alberto Barretto highlighted the role of irrigated agriculture as a strategic element to help the Brazilian food system overcome its most uncomfortable paradox: territorial and productive expansion of agriculture at the same time as the population's food insecurity increases. Recent data from the Penssan Network (Brazilian Network for Research on Sovereignty and Food Security) showed that more than half of the Brazilian population faces some degree of food insecurity and, of these, 33 million are hungry.

According to Barretto, the potential for expanding the irrigated area in Brazil is up to 53.4 million irrigated hectares, starting from the current 8.2 million already installed – and this without compromising other uses of water resources, due to the use of technologies already available. “This is a safe use and it can be a stock not only Brazilian, but global. Because in order to address the environmental issue and food security, irrigation comes, first, to fulfill the mission of creating an agricultural frontier where there is already farming. We can even think of irrigation as our last agricultural frontier in which these 53.4 million hectares are what we have to work on for the next 30 years,” said the expert.

Barretto also underlined the multidimensionality of the food security issue, which extends beyond the rural limits. “The balanced combination of availability, access and use of food is what makes up food security. It's no use having availability and not having an income or having an income and not knowing how to use these foods to create a diet that will maintain food security”.

The lecture “Irrigation and food security” was organized by the CNA (Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil). Frederico Cintra, General Coordinator of Irrigation and Drainage at the Ministry of Agriculture, also took part, who presented the proposal for the National Program for Irrigated Agriculture that the agency is developing; and Rodrigo Mendes, coordinator of Irrigation Hubs and Projects at the Ministry of Regional Development (MDR), who explained how the Irrigated Agriculture Hubs Program works.


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