Roberto Vega is director of sustainability for the Dole Food Company
Agriculture accounts for almost 70% of withdrawn water for human use. 40% of all crops grown in the world are produced using irrigation. By 2050, the world will need to find a way to cope with the additional 2 billion people that will need to be fed with the same amount of land and with less water available.
We need to find solutions to a large number of challenges that threaten the sustainably of food production. Water is a critical element in this equation, and its correlation with soil and other agricultural inputs needs to be comprehensibly addressed.
I would like to talk about a product I am very familiar with: bananas, which by the way are 80% water. For years, internationally traded bananas have mainly been sourced from Latin America. Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras have become the main sources of conventional bananas for Europe and North America. On the other hand, Peru and the Dominican Republic are large producers of organic bananas. All these countries have very different characteristics, including soil types, rainfall patterns and pest and diseases.