Securing Water for Food, a joint US/Swedish/Dutch program, selected 17 companies from an international pool of 536 applicants. The program breaks new ground on several levels. First, the program looks beyond water and sanitation in the developing world to securing water supplies for food. Second, it focuses upon innovation– technology solutions as well as business models, rather than funding new facilities and education. It focuses upon salinity, water storage as well as water efficiency and reuse.
Perhaps most daring, the program convenes private sector industry experts to review and select the most promising solutions. “Producing more food with less water is critical. With the right technology we think we can half the amount of water that is used to produce food,” says Therese Sjömander-Magnusson, water expert at Sida.
Despite an explosion in the growth of urban slums over the last decade, nearly 75 percent of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas. That’s why growth in the agriculture sector has been found, on average, to be at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.