Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Sweilam met with Beth Bechdol — Deputy Director-General at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) — on Saturday to discuss coordination between the ministry and the organisation in the field of water resources and irrigation.
During the meeting, Sweilam indicated that the national water projects currently being implemented aim to serve the water system, maximise returns, and serve beneficiaries — especially farmers — which motivates the government to search for the best means and systems that achieve these goals.
He stressed the important link between water and food, given that water is a key element in agriculture and achieving food security, emphasising the need to work on placing the water, agriculture, and food sectors within the climate change file, especially since global crises and international supply chain problems have clarified the need for integration between the water and agriculture sectors to provide food.
They also discussed standards and priorities for work during the coming period in the field of transition to modern irrigation systems and stressed the importance of expanding research studies on the use of modern irrigation techniques to study this file in an integrated manner that includes the impact on the rate of charging aquifers and the quantities of agricultural drainage that enter the water system in other locations.
Moreover, they covered studying the various alternatives used globally in the field of modern irrigation systems and the possibility of implementing a number of experimental areas to study the use of these systems to irrigate different crops in various conditions according to the state of the soil and climate, taking into account the fragmentation of agricultural ownership and all other water, environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
According to a statement from the ministry, the two parties also discussed the continuation of cooperation between the ministry and the FAO in a number of research topics in the field of measuring the values of water consumption for different crops, the water accounting system, and the use of solar energy to raise water.
Furthermore, Sweilam indicated that the FAO is a strategic partner of the ministry in the activities of the Fifth Cairo Water Week and the Water Pavilion that will be held within the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) that will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh this November.
Consequently, he reviewed the measures taken by the ministry to prepare for these important events that aim to highlight water and climate issues at the global level, inviting the FAO to support the international initiative to adapt the water sector to climate changes, which will be launched by Egypt during the activities of the climate conference.