The Stream, December 30: Dry Middle East Countries Search for Food Security

Food Production
Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which rely heavily on food imports due to a lack of water and arable land within their borders, are shifting their agricultural investments from developing countries in Africa to developed countries in Europe and North America, Reuters reported. Political instability and a backlash over “land grabs” in Africa are primary drivers behind the shift.

More than 3 million hectares of land in China are so polluted that they cannot be used to grow crops, according to government officials, Reuters reported. China’s government is increasing its efforts to clean up land and groundwater polluted by industrial growth, as well as prevent further contamination, the officials said.

Water Supply
India’s government is urging private companies to demonstrate their corporate responsibility by helping to fund and construct piped water supplies in rural communities, Bloomberg News reported. Just 35 percent of rural homes currently have access to piped water supplies—a number the government wants to improve to 55 percent by 2017.

The United Nations Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance should continue to encourage cross-border collaboration and innovation in the public water supply sector, according to a guest post published by the Guardian. David McDonald, a professor of global development studies at Queens University in Canada, argues that the Alliance serves an important role in the global debate over public versus private water suppliers.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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