On this June 17th, we join with the UN in raising awareness and support for continuing efforts around the world to combat desertification, one of the emerging social and environmental issues that critically threatens our sustainable prosperity. This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification advocates for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal 15, Life on Land.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification was established in 1994 and is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The dry and drought-affected lands of Africa were in particular focus when the convention was established. Today, 20 years on, desertification remains a challenge. At Netafim, we are mindful of the close relationship between Life on Land, desertification, water scarcity and sustainable agriculture.
We have written in the past about how our work at Netafim helps combat desertification, a fact that is especially true in Israel – Netafim was established in the Israeli Negev desert, which is blooming today thanks to drip irrigation. At its essence, drip irrigation is a form of land management. Arable land is a finite resource – and the world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40 years according to a recent university study. With smart irrigation solutions that improve yield, farmers can produce twice the amount of crops using half the land required without drip irrigation. In Kenya for example, in the arid zones of the Nzambani Districts in the Eastern Province, an area that fits the original criteria that motivated the Convention to Combat Desertification, we demonstrated that moving from bucket irrigation to drip saves 60% of water and increases yield by 140% among a group of 200 farmers.
We will continue our collaborative efforts to combat desertification through investing in awareness, education and availability of drip irrigation in the hope that we will all realize SDG15 in advance of 2030.