Water, a resource that is vital to ensuring the food security of smallholders in the South

Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières will be participating in the World Water Forum, which will be held in Marseille from March 12 to March 17, 2012. The NGO, which has been active in countries in the South for the past 35 years, will defend the right of smallholders to have access to water, a resource that is essential to ensuring their food security.

Finding alternative solutions to help the most vulnerable segments of the population
The 6th World Water Forum will welcome 25,000 participants from 180 different countries and will provide an opportunity for them to share their experiences and come up with solutions to problems concerning water access and water management. The civil society is organizing the Alternative World Water Forum, which will also take place in Marseille, from March 14 to 17, in order to propose other practical alternatives.
AVSF, in partnership with several other associations within Coordination SUD, is asking countries, organizations, and international funders to put aside solutions that are overly simplified. ”Water is an extremely important resource for smallholders in the South,” says Frédéric Apollin, Program Director of AVSF. ”Without water, people can’t farm.” Support programs need to be developed that are specifically adapted to each of the different contexts that exist in the South.
Such programs will need to focus on three priorities:

  • protecting the right to have access to and use water for food production in order to combat the rise in land and water grabbing,
  • investing wisely in agricultural water for smallholders by encouraging the use of simple techniques, promoting infrastructure that is specifically adapted to the local conditions for water management, and building the capacities of water-user associations,
  • facilitating the concerted and democratic management of water by promoting forums to discuss how to fairly distribute water among users, sectors, cities, and rural areas, and by ensuring that smallholders have a greater say in such forums.

An innovative activity in Ecuador that has produced results
There is an unfortunate paradox at work in Ecuador: the country has abundant water resources, and yet a majority of the population does not have access to water to use for food production. Without this precious resource, the most vulnerable segments of the population cannot cultivate their land and cannot prouce enough food to feed themselves properly. For the past 25 years, AVSF has been fighting alongside smallholders for their right to have access to water.
Hugo Vinueza, Secretary General of the Interjuntas union of water users in the Chimborazo region of Ecuador, an organization that represents more than 30,000 families, will take part in two forums in order to share his thoughts about this long collaborative relationship with AVSF and the positive results that it has produced.

Press contact attending the forums in Marseille from March 13 to 17:
Frédéric Apollin, AVSF Program Director: 06 72 11 31 48 – f.apollin@avsf.org
Hugo Vinueza will be available for interviews at the event (there will be a translator)


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