World Bank officials get first-hand look at production agriculture

Ag specialists, water specialists, engineers and  economists with The World Bank visited Chase County last week to gain a better understand how water is managed for food production in the region and state.
    The 11 World Bank officials, representing Africa, India, Pakistan, Phillipines and the United States, took part in a week-long tour of Nebraska.
    The tour was organized by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska. Four members of the institute joined the World Bank officials on the tour.
    Their primary focus in coming to Imperial was to see how groundwater is managed in the Upper Republican Natural Resources District.
    The World Bank is interested in investing in groundwater-fed irrigation projects for food production in Southeast Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East, according to Nick Brozovic´, director of policy for the institute.
    The goal of the tour was to gain understanding of how Nebraska manages water for agricultural use—from the University of Nebraska, NRDs, farmers, irrigation equipment dealers and other private industry reps, state regulatory agencies and non-profit organizations.    
    Brozovic´ said the tour included four NRDs, including the Upper Big Blue, Central Platte and Twin Platte, in addition to the URNRD.
    He said there is a growing amount of groundwater use in foreign countries for food production.
    While an individual farmer in Nebraska farm can farm thousands of acres, the average farm in these developing countries is around two acres in size.
    Brozovic´ said farms of this size use drip irrigation to water their crops.
    He noted India has more than 30 million groundwater wells. He said China has large amounts, as well, with a growing amount in Africa.
    He said there are other areas of the world with large groundwater deposits. The big difference is recharge. “They don’t have the Sandhills for recharge,” he said.

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