Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade

Maite Martinez-Aldaya, Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra, J.A. Allan

Research output: Book/ReportReportOther research output

50 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Virtual water is the volume of water used to produce a commodity or service. By importing agricultural commodities and the virtual water embedded in them, a country saves the water it would have required to produce those commodities domestically. Virtual-water ‘trade’, thus, has the potential to relieve water stress and improve water security. The present research critically evaluates the strategic importance and implications of green water (soil water) in relation to international crop trade. Even if, traditionally, emphasis has been given to irrigation systems, today most global crop production is rain-fed. Besides having a lower opportunity cost, green water use for the production of crops is considered more sustainable than the use of blue water (irrigation). Although green water represents the largest share of virtual water in the international trade of agricultural commodities, with exports going from highly productive rain-fed rich countries towards generally blue water based ones, green water volumes have rarely been estimated. The present study corroborates that green water is by far the largest share of virtual water embodied in maize, soybean and wheat exports from the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina during the period 2000-2004. Accordingly, green virtual-water flows can play a major role in ensuring water security and saving water in water-deficit economies. The potential of international green virtual-water ‘trade’ for saving water and improving water security, however, is constrained by factors such as technology, the potential for further increases in the productivity, the level of socio-economic development, national food policies and international trade agreements.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherUnesco-IHE Institute for Water Education
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

Publication series

NameThe Value of Water Research Report Series
PublisherUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
No.25

Keywords

  • IR-60002

Cite this

Martinez-Aldaya, M., Hoekstra, A. Y., & Allan, J. A. (2008). Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade. (The Value of Water Research Report Series; No. 25). Delft: Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education.
Martinez-Aldaya, Maite ; Hoekstra, Arjen Ysbert ; Allan, J.A. / Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade. Delft : Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education, 2008. 36 p. (The Value of Water Research Report Series; 25).
@book{3516213530cf4add9a42e9bfcd4a4430,
title = "Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade",
abstract = "Virtual water is the volume of water used to produce a commodity or service. By importing agricultural commodities and the virtual water embedded in them, a country saves the water it would have required to produce those commodities domestically. Virtual-water ‘trade’, thus, has the potential to relieve water stress and improve water security. The present research critically evaluates the strategic importance and implications of green water (soil water) in relation to international crop trade. Even if, traditionally, emphasis has been given to irrigation systems, today most global crop production is rain-fed. Besides having a lower opportunity cost, green water use for the production of crops is considered more sustainable than the use of blue water (irrigation). Although green water represents the largest share of virtual water in the international trade of agricultural commodities, with exports going from highly productive rain-fed rich countries towards generally blue water based ones, green water volumes have rarely been estimated. The present study corroborates that green water is by far the largest share of virtual water embodied in maize, soybean and wheat exports from the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina during the period 2000-2004. Accordingly, green virtual-water flows can play a major role in ensuring water security and saving water in water-deficit economies. The potential of international green virtual-water ‘trade’ for saving water and improving water security, however, is constrained by factors such as technology, the potential for further increases in the productivity, the level of socio-economic development, national food policies and international trade agreements.",
keywords = "IR-60002",
author = "Maite Martinez-Aldaya and Hoekstra, {Arjen Ysbert} and J.A. Allan",
year = "2008",
month = "3",
language = "Undefined",
series = "The Value of Water Research Report Series",
publisher = "Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education",
number = "25",

}

Martinez-Aldaya, M, Hoekstra, AY & Allan, JA 2008, Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade. The Value of Water Research Report Series, no. 25, Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft.

Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade. / Martinez-Aldaya, Maite; Hoekstra, Arjen Ysbert; Allan, J.A.

Delft : Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education, 2008. 36 p. (The Value of Water Research Report Series; No. 25).

Research output: Book/ReportReportOther research output

TY - BOOK

T1 - Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade

AU - Martinez-Aldaya, Maite

AU - Hoekstra, Arjen Ysbert

AU - Allan, J.A.

PY - 2008/3

Y1 - 2008/3

N2 - Virtual water is the volume of water used to produce a commodity or service. By importing agricultural commodities and the virtual water embedded in them, a country saves the water it would have required to produce those commodities domestically. Virtual-water ‘trade’, thus, has the potential to relieve water stress and improve water security. The present research critically evaluates the strategic importance and implications of green water (soil water) in relation to international crop trade. Even if, traditionally, emphasis has been given to irrigation systems, today most global crop production is rain-fed. Besides having a lower opportunity cost, green water use for the production of crops is considered more sustainable than the use of blue water (irrigation). Although green water represents the largest share of virtual water in the international trade of agricultural commodities, with exports going from highly productive rain-fed rich countries towards generally blue water based ones, green water volumes have rarely been estimated. The present study corroborates that green water is by far the largest share of virtual water embodied in maize, soybean and wheat exports from the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina during the period 2000-2004. Accordingly, green virtual-water flows can play a major role in ensuring water security and saving water in water-deficit economies. The potential of international green virtual-water ‘trade’ for saving water and improving water security, however, is constrained by factors such as technology, the potential for further increases in the productivity, the level of socio-economic development, national food policies and international trade agreements.

AB - Virtual water is the volume of water used to produce a commodity or service. By importing agricultural commodities and the virtual water embedded in them, a country saves the water it would have required to produce those commodities domestically. Virtual-water ‘trade’, thus, has the potential to relieve water stress and improve water security. The present research critically evaluates the strategic importance and implications of green water (soil water) in relation to international crop trade. Even if, traditionally, emphasis has been given to irrigation systems, today most global crop production is rain-fed. Besides having a lower opportunity cost, green water use for the production of crops is considered more sustainable than the use of blue water (irrigation). Although green water represents the largest share of virtual water in the international trade of agricultural commodities, with exports going from highly productive rain-fed rich countries towards generally blue water based ones, green water volumes have rarely been estimated. The present study corroborates that green water is by far the largest share of virtual water embodied in maize, soybean and wheat exports from the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina during the period 2000-2004. Accordingly, green virtual-water flows can play a major role in ensuring water security and saving water in water-deficit economies. The potential of international green virtual-water ‘trade’ for saving water and improving water security, however, is constrained by factors such as technology, the potential for further increases in the productivity, the level of socio-economic development, national food policies and international trade agreements.

KW - IR-60002

M3 - Report

T3 - The Value of Water Research Report Series

BT - Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade

PB - Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education

CY - Delft

ER -

Martinez-Aldaya M, Hoekstra AY, Allan JA. Strategic importance of green water in international crop trade. Delft: Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education, 2008. 36 p. (The Value of Water Research Report Series; 25).