The workshop aims to set out the water and food security challenges in Central Asian countries. It will present information on innovative technologies on the use of marginal water resources and their associated environmental impact, asking how they can be used to meet increasing demand in good quality water. A special focus will be on the role of science and its achievements that can be undertaken to improve water and food security in the marginal environments of the Central Asia region.
The main objectives are:
· to produce more nutritious food with less water: Innovative technologies are required to ensure sustainable food production. They are needed to improve crop yields: implement efficient irrigation strategies; reuse of drainage water and use of water resources of marginal quality; produce smarter ways to use fertilizer and water; and create more sustainable crop-livestock production;
· to focus on human capacities and institutional framework: Agricultural development in Central Asian countries lies mainly in the hands of smallholders, a large majority of whom are women. Therefore, new institutional arrangements are needed that centralize the responsibility for water regulation, yet decentralize water management responsibility and increase user ownership and participation;
· to improve the value chain: From production, post-harvest handling, processing, retailing, consumption to distribution and trade, efficient water and food recycling strategies can be addressed. It can help secure environmental water requirements when reuse of treated water is not culturally acceptable for other uses;
· to use best practices: Increase support of smallholder farmers in public and private sector to scale up best practices and adoption of self-reliant approaches for utilization of non-conventional water and land resources;
· industries have to reduce wastewater and minimize the quantity of processed water needed: This method has proven to be technically feasible. The demand reduction and efficiency approach should be an integral part of modern water resources management in the Central Asian river basins.