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Naturland on the occasion of World Water Day

Worldwaterday 2019 350x233Agriculture is the world's largest consumer of water. According to estimates by the WWF, agriculture consumes around 70 percent of water resources, and in developing countries even up to 90 percent. On March 14, Naturland had invited to the assembly of Spanish Naturland members and partners. With 23 participants, the event was very well attended. Main topic of the event: Water.

Alexander Koch from the international department at Naturland highlighted in his presentation the Naturland standards for sustainable water use. Naturland certified operations in regions with scarce water resources, which include most regions in southern Spain, have to fulfil them. This includes evidence of the legality of their water sources, efficient irrigation techniques and the use of rainwater. In addition, farmers must develop a water management plan, documenting their water use, conducting a risk analysis, and developing a plan of action on how to avoid or reduce risk. In this way, Naturland is establishing a regulatory framework for the sustainable use of water and if necessary even for the exclusion of members who are not meeting these requirements.

Sustainbale water use asks for policy frameworks

Although guidelines on the sustainable use of water in agricultural systems are important and valuable, the single-company approach is not enough to solving the complex challenge of water. Above all the political will and the political framework are crucial, too. However, there are shortcomings in this regard, at the political and administrative level both in Spain and at the level of the eurpean agricultural policy.

This even became obvious in the presentation by Felipe Fuentelsaz from WWF Spain and in the subsequent discussion with the participants.Crops such as olive, almond or wine, which were traditionally cultivated in dry farming without irrigation in Spain, are today increasingly being irrigated. In the meantime, olives have become the crop with the highest water consumption of all agricultural crops in Andalusia. This intensification is also advanced by EU agricultural subsidies –  which are not tied up to a sustainable use of water resources in arid regions.

In his presentation, Felipe Fuentelsaz also dealt in detail with the legal requirements regarding irrigation and the legality of water use.

Apart from the main topic water, the working conditions and social conditions on the farms and operations were another important issue adressed in the meeting. Alexander Koch once more raised the awareness for the importance and the explosive nature of the topic.IMG 20190314 1405592Naturland assembly in Spain Furthermore Alexander Koch presented positive developments in Naturland, such as the sustained worldwide growth. Koch also used the gathering to introduce Folker Cantalapiedra. He will be the local Naturland contact and responsible for the Naturland quality assurance in Spain. Cantalpiedra replaces Ulf Struve, who is retiring from operational business, but will still be available for Naturland with his expertise.