How do we ensure a sufficient supply of clean, fresh water to be able to meet the increasing demand for food? Knowledge and innovation can lead to answers.
The global population is growing, thus boosting the demand for food, especially around urban areas. Food security, food safety and food quality are important themes. It is essential that there is enough good quality water, because food grows where water flows. Land is in fairly short supply and perhaps it is possible to increase food production at sea. This has European priority. Other important challenges for the coming years are a more efficient use of nutrients by using residual and waste flows.
Climate change poses an additional challenge, for how do we deal with periods of water shortages and water surpluses that may lead to desiccation, salinisation and erosion. In the years to come the Netherlands will be working on water and food issues based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Water and Food focuses on four themes:
- Salinisation; what to do if this persists?
- Stop controlling water levels (level dictates use).
- Lack of groundwater or surface water; what are solutions?
- Relocating food production; from sea to land and vice versa.
The research track seeks to link up with European options such as Blue Growth and Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy. Showing innovations in practice also plays an important role.