MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Irrigation, water shortages, climate change and migrating populations were among the issues highlighted by the three winning entries from young filmmakers from around Asia in a video competition run by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The competition, run in conjunction with the 2nd Asian Irrigation Forum in Manila taking place from 20-22 January, invited budding filmmakers aged 18-30 to submit a video of up to 3-minutes in length exploring the theme, “Who’s Growing Tomorrow’s Food.” The winning entries are being shown at the forum, which is being held in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Australian Water Partnership, and the International Water Management Institute.

“We were impressed by the high standard of artistry and vision in the entries which showed a clear understanding of the twin pressures on finite water resources and of feeding an increasing population.” said Yasmin Siddiqi, ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist, who headed the panel of three ADB judges, together with a judge from FAO, and one from the International Water Management Institute. “All entries displayed a passion for exploring different perspectives on how we can wisely use our resources—particularly water—in the face of competing demands to produce food.”

The winning video from Saraswati Upadhaya, 26, of Nepal, explores the challenges of growing more food with less water in the face of youth migration to cities and climate change. Ms. Upadhaya was invited to present her video at the forum. 

In second place was a video from Patiparn Boontarig, 26, from Thailand called “Life in the Slow Lane,” exploring the relationship between cities, water and the importance of producing food. 

The third placed video, “Better Crop Yields Better Life,” by Gilbert James dela Cruz, 22, from the Philippines, documents how the challenges of getting water to serve highland areas of Tamayong on the southern island of Mindanao have been largely overcome by a new irrigation system.

Entries were judged on content, effective use of time in the video, clarity, originality of message, and involvement of stakeholders.

Around 200 irrigation experts and stakeholders are attending the forum with representatives from ADB’s member countries, civil society, the private sector, ADB, and other development partners. Sessions are addressing how to modernize and adopt new processes to improve water productivity, improve governance, and bring about irrigation investments and innovative financing options.

Agriculture uses the bulk of the region’s water resources—about 80% on average. But aging infrastructure, lack of capacity in institutions, and poor water management result in low productivity and inefficient use of water for food production. According to researchers, agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally by 2050, and 100% more in developing countries using the same finite water resources.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

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