'Agroecosystems' can boost food security and protect the environment

Two new reports from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) seek a new path toward achieving both food security and environmental health. They focus on radically reorienting practices and policies so that farming occurs in 'agroecosystems' that exist as part of the broader landscape, where they help maintain and supplement clean water, clean air and biodiversity.

One example of integration being explored by the CGIAR's Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is the potential for benefit sharing in river basin areas of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Upstream users value the water for irrigation and ecotourism and also have a spiritual affiliation with the ecosystem. The hydropower companies need a steady stream to support electrification of the growing urban population downstream. Large-scale farms and agro-industry also need increasing supplies of water. Read more

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