The Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Bank Expert Meeting held earlier this year discussed “Investing in agriculture and natural resources management in the context of climate change in East Asia and the Pacific” and came out with a series of observations.

A report on the State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: Implications for Southeast/East Asia pointed out the ‘risks’ faced by land and water systems. Major river basins were experiencing reduced flows and salinity was building up. Groundwater depletion is affecting livelihoods in countries with poor water resources and a high population growth. Demographic pressure on resources is rapidly increasing in semi-arid tropics. The impact of climate change is expected to amplify water scarcity on key basins and deltas.

The report said that smallholder farming in South India and the agro-pastoral systems in western India, which followed rain-fed cropping, were facing risks of desertification, reduced production potential, crop failures, conflicts and required priority action. Irrigated rice-based systems in southeast and eastern Asia were facing land abandonment, loss of buffer role, increasing cost of land conservation, pollution and loss of cultural values of land.