Food security, sustainable agriculture and water management

Because of climate change, poor harvests, armed conflict and population growth, the danger of famine is increasing. More and more countries are faced with a range of water problems, ranging from extreme drought to flooding. In response, the Dutch government works to boost food security, sustainable agriculture and effective water management worldwide.

Growing more and better food

Even today, one billion people all over the world go to sleep hungry. Many others do not get the necessary vitamins and minerals from their food. To improve food security, the Netherlands supports organisations that train and advise men and women farmers and that supply them with more and better-quality seeds. Agricultural research and satellite monitoring are two ways to help farmers cope more effectively with climate change and adapt to shifting weather patterns. For example, the Geodata for Agriculture and Water programme helps sesame and barley producers in Ethiopia by advising them on weather and farming issues. In Kenya it is building a system that warns farmers when growing conditions are less than ideal.

Water management

Water shortages affect large numbers of people in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Arab region. To address this problem, the Netherlands is investing in better water management. In Mali, for instance, the Water Productivity Open-access portal (WaPOR) database provides real-time satellite monitoring that helps government authorities and farming cooperatives capture, store and reuse water.

Other densely populated regions are having to deal with flooding, soil subsidence and salinisation, and the consequences for farming, livestock and energy supply. As part of the Dutch aims for international water policy, various Dutch ministries have teamed up with national and international partners to improve water supplies, boost resilience and reduce damage in 15 countries. Through Partners for Water (Dutch), the Netherlands supports water management in densely populated delta regions in Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia and elsewhere.

Drinking water and sanitation

The Netherlands aims to give at least 30 million people access to safe drinking water by 2030, and 50 million access to toilets, a water supply and proper sewerage. To do this, it has joined in partnership with UNICEF, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The Netherlands is also actively involved in the Water, Peace and Security project, which identifies potential conflicts over water and tries to prevent them from escalating.