NEW DELHI: A new report on global temperatures and food situation has revealed that India will face a reduction of over 16 % in food supply due to water and heat stress in 2050, increasing the food insecure population by over 50%. However, the report placed China at the top, where food supply would be reduced by 22.4%, followed by South America by 19.4%.
The report says many Asian countries, including China and ASEAN members, who are currently net food exporters, would become net food importers by 2050. The water stress means the demand for clean or usable water is exponentially growing while sources are shrinking. India ranks 13 globally on the facing water stress in 2019.
The water supply availability in India is between 1100-1197 billion cubic meters (bcm). In contrast, the demand is expected to grow from 550-710 bcm in 2010 to around 900-1,400 bcm in 2050. The report is titled ‘The What, Why and How of the World Water Crisis: Global Commission on the Economics of Water Phase 1 Review and Findings’ published by the Global Commission on the Economics of Water (GCEW).
The Commission was launched in 2022 at the World Economic Forum and is composed of 17 experts, community leaders and practitioners from a broad range of science, policy and front-line practice expertise from all regions of the globe. The report made projections for 2050, and how the situation will impact global irrigated food production and food security till the year 2050 from the base year of 2014.
‘Address water stress urgently’
The report points out that India’s poor water policy design is a major barrier in addressing water stress
It targets India’s energy subsidies to farmers, which promote greater water use, thus leading to aquifer depletion
The report emphasises trade to mitigate water scarcity.
It calls for water-constrained countries to import water-intensive farm products than produce them domestically