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Report presentation: Irrigation and food security. The situation in Spain.

Fecha: 25/01/2024

Cover of the presentation of the event. Irrigation for food security

Plataforma Tierra has presented on Wednesday January 24 the report published by Cajamar entitled “Irrigation and food security. The situation in Spain”, whose coordinators have been the professors Alberto Garrido (CEIGRAM, UPM) and Jaime Lamo de Espinosa (UPM). The event was held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food headquarters in Madrid.

The presentation was opened and moderated by Eduardo Baamonde, President of Cajamar, who emphasized the need to implement strategies that allow a more efficient use of water and continue contributing to feed a growing population in an adverse agro-climatic situation such as the one we are currently facing. He highlighted the close link between irrigation and world food security.

Jaime Lamo de Espinosa, professor emeritus of the UPM and former Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, explained some of the main conflicts that are taking place in the world over the control of water. The former minister said that in a world with a growing population and with an increasing number of people suffering from hunger or malnutrition, according to FAO, irrigation makes it possible to produce much more food on a smaller surface area, making it the type of management that can provide solutions to this problem, without the need for new changes in land use, which negatively affect biodiversity. In addition, he also highlighted that with the uncertainty associated with climate change (recurrent droughts, torrential rains, temperature peaks, etc), irrigation can help improve yields and alleviate these uncertainties, and that it is necessary to seek alternative sources of water (desalination plants, reclaimed water).

Alberto Garrido Colmenero, presented details of the publication, which included the participation of a dozen specialists in water economics, sustainability, water technology and agricultural policy. He highlighted the importance of increasing freshwater harvesting capacity for irrigation as a key element for agricultural efficiency and productivity. He placed special emphasis on the need to address nitrate pollution and explore the use of renewable energies for more efficient water management.

Alberto Garrido during his presentation
Alberto Garrido

Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), underlined the close relationship between MAPA and UPM, highlighting the importance of irrigation in Spain’s food security. Planas advocated for efficient irrigation and highlighted the crucial role it plays in the generation of employment and in the country’s trade balance.

The minister shared positive data on the Spanish agri-food balance, which has experienced a positive balance in recent years. He emphasized the need to modernize the agricultural sector, adopting new technologies and tools such as the digital notebook for better control of the use of water and phytosanitary products.

Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture, during his presentation
Luis Planas

The full digital version of the document is available for free download.

In conclusion, the strategic importance of irrigation in Spain’s food security was highlighted. The experts agreed on the urgent need to implement efficient measures to face the current challenges, emphasizing the adoption of modern technologies and sustainable strategies. The report presented reflects a detailed picture of the current situation, providing a solid basis for future decisions in the agricultural and water sectors.

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