she climate change This includes changing the composition of the world’s atmosphere with many negative consequences for the environment. Its effects are expected to be most prominent in water resources and therefore a threat to sovereignty and food safety.
In this sense, the Executive Directorate of the Commission to Promote the Technification of the National Irrigation System of the Dominican Republic held a panel where local and foreign experts analyzed the impact of technical irrigation within the framework of the climate crisis, seen from different perspectives, such as: water availability, agricultural productivity, water and food security.
During the discussion of the subject, the director general of the entity, Claudio Caamaño Velez, explained that only 10% of the cultivated land has technical irrigation, and of the 12 million works of land with a productive vocation, only 5 million are dedicated to intensive production. This means that only 40% of the agricultural production capacity is used.
In addition, he recalled that of the 82% of water reserved for agriculture, more than 50% is lost due to the low efficiency of the traditional irrigation system. In that sense, he invited support for the strategy to modernize the irrigation system for more efficient use of water in agriculture.
On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Alvarez, He determined that, according to the United Nations, extreme weather and climate events, in addition to economic shocks, are the main causes of severe food insecurity around the world.
He understood that although the country is in a privileged position, since it produces 85% of the food consumed, the NEED The population has increased almost fourfold in the last 60 years. Which means that it should be made for approximately 12.2 million people in addition to the tourist population that visits the territory every year. Therefore, he emphasized the importance of solving issues like this in order to share experiences and find solutions to the challenges faced.
During the debate “Climate change, food security and irrigation technology”, the executive vice president of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism, Max Puig, stated that, to deal with climate change, the Dominican Republic needs to invest, therefore in 2030, US$18 billion. “This calculation is based on the Nationally Determined Contribution, which is an obligation that all member countries have in the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Macro Convention,” he said.
Throughout the debate, Rodrigo Castañeda, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), warned that the country must adapt to new agricultural production patterns. He explained that new consumers are asking for healthy production. He added that if it is not adapted to the required speed by 2028, the risk of hunger will increase to about 600 million people.
For Carrasco, agriculture must earn so that young people want to stay in the countryside, so he emphasizes the relevance of technical irrigation, not only as an adaptation to climate change, but as a tool to improve the situation of the families in the region. rural areas, where the highest percentage of food insecurity is concentrated.
“If we look at this as a challenge, it will suggest moving forward to strengthen water management, financing mechanisms for innovation and technology in the sector,” he clarified.
For his part, the executive president of the Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD), Osmar Benítez, stated that the increase in agricultural productivity thanks to the improvement in the management of water resources is essential to deal with periods of extreme weather. every time. .
The importance of technical irrigation, he continued, is that it changes the productivity per area up to 30%, therefore investing in improving irrigation systems is a guarantee against the differences in rainfall and instability of production.
The former Minister of Agriculture indicated that the use of water for agricultural purposes is a central issue in any debate on water resources and food security, because it is a necessary resource, because generally, 70% of fresh water is used in agriculture. in the world.
“Worldwide, more than 330 million hectares have irrigation facilities. Irrigated agriculture represents 20% of the total cultivated area and contributes 40% of the total world food production,” he said.
For Benítez, the key to the country’s food security is centered in the central quadrant of Cibao (La Vega, Villa Tapia, Salcedo, Moca, Licey al Medio), where most of the food consumed is produced, but it does not have a canal or technical. irrigation system.
He understood that the country’s food security must take place under technical irrigation, otherwise we cannot continue to talk about guaranteeing food production.
CHAPTER ON EFFICIENT WATER MANAGEMENT
The director of the Water Unit of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PCMM), Silvio Carrasco, warned that, although the country is rich in irrigable land, as of now it has 300,000 hectares, with the potential to reach 600,000 under irrigation , It must first overcome the uncertainty from the point of water.
He maintained that of the 6,000 million cubic meters of water used in irrigation, the Dominican Republic has the capacity to store 1,800 million in dams during the rainy season and only 500 million in case of drought. In this context, he warned that technicalization should be prioritized in competitive crops such as rice, which consumes more than 300,000 cubic meters of water per hectare per year and should be produced in half the amount, through the implementation of technology .
“Banana is another threat to water security. It consumes as much water as rice, therefore, the cultivation pattern must also be changed; It should not be planted under surface irrigation,” said the professor.