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5th Intergroup on Water: “Water and Agriculture, a common future”

Jul 1st, 2010 |

Brussels, 1 July 2010. Yesterday the Parliamentary Intergroup on Water convened at the European Parliament in Brussels for its fifth meeting, chaired by MEP Dr. Richard Seeber, discussing the relation between water and agriculture. MEP Seeber opened the meeting outlining that “farming and water have a close and difficult relation. 70% of the European drinking water is used by the agricultural sector.”

The keynote Speaker, Mr. Luís Bulhao Martins, Vice President of the Portuguese Farmers Confederation and Vice-Chairman of the COPACOGECA Working Party on Environment, stressed the fact that farmers are adapting their management decisions to the changing climate on regular basis. Furthermore, “farmers have to be economic viable to cope with Climate Change, because they have to face also imbalances in food chain, volatility of the markets, rising global food demand and demand for bioenergy”.

Mr. Bulhao Marins said that good practices should be achieved in the future to adapt water needs for agriculture: first of all increasing water use efficiency by changing cropping patterns and using adapted production methods; then securing the water supply for agriculture, reducing water losses in transport to the field, increasing moisture in the soil, using alternative water sources and improving water protection by increasing nutrient use efficiency and reducing run-off, increasing pesticide use efficiency and reducing losses, using new technologies and innovative approach.

Mr. Bulhao Martins stressed that the European agriculture should address solutions, like: “allow higher production, use less water, improve the efficiency for nutrients, and minimize losses of nutrients and pesticides.”

Mr. Gerard Doornbos, Chairman of the Rijnland Water Authority (NL), Chair of the EUREAU Task Force on Water and Agriculture and keynote speaker of the Intergroup meeting, outlined that the Communitarian Agricultural Policy (CAP) has undergone a change. Before it was more focused on production, benefiting just this sector, nowadays other demands are requesting to be addressed, like the secure of food production, the sustainability for the environment, the protection of water quality and the reductions on water related natural disasters, as floods, droughts landslides. “The CAP has a challenging future”, he closed.

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