Irrigation constitutes about 80% of the demand for freshwater in Asia. But with competing water demands for energy, industry, and domestic use and rapidly expanding urban populations irrigation becomes critical for regional food security.
Asia’s agriculture sector is in transition. As more men leave farming for better job opportunities, women are increasingly managing farms and becoming responsible for agriculture. Coupled with the anticipated impacts of climate change and natural resource degradation, we require more sustainable and resilient agriculture to support food production. Investments for water and food security in the region are needed to provide farmers and farming communities with a viable economic future.
ADB responded to regional needs by hosting the first Asian Irrigation Forum (AIF) in 2012. The forum brought together stakeholders to share knowledge, best practices, and technological advancements; and identified future investment opportunities.
However, irrigation in Asia still faces limited resources, outdated system designs, institutional inefficiencies, and weak governance. There is also a need for more intricate understanding of the changing rural economy and for more novel and impactful solutions.
The second Asian Irrigation Forum (AIF2) will address these challenges, building on the gains and advancements made at the first forum to work towards a water and food secure Asia-Pacific region.
The Asian Irrigation Forum 2 aims to:
- Seek regional participants’ views to better understand country-level perspectives;
- Highlight practical solutions that apply latest knowledge and innovations in irrigation;
- Identify the scale of required investments and appropriate financing mechanisms, and;
- Understand the future challenges posed by declining population of irrigation practitioners.
The forum will feature the following themes:
- Performance, focusing on challenges in achieving results through modernized systems, such as improved water productivity and strengthened performance benchmarking;
- Innovations, especially within the context of water-energy links, such as solar pumping, agriculture waste-to-energy projects, laser land levelling, and irrigation water re-use;
- Financing, exploring irrigation’s absorptive capacity and drivers for infrastructure investments, while addressing such topics as innovative financing options, private sector participation, and financing for operation and maintenance;
- Governance, addressing policy, institutional, and legal frameworks for more impactful investments and highlighting the youth’s role in securing water and food for the future.
AIF2 is being organized by ADB, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Water Management Institute
ADB is inviting irrigation experts and stakeholders to AIF2. These include representatives from member countries, civil society, private sector, and other development partners.