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Water and trade in agriculture. Investigating virtual water hypothesis in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
2. Towards the Future: Water Resources and Global Changes

Alexandre Le Vernoy

PhD candidate at The Groupe d'Economie Mondiale at Sciences Po Paris. My research interests are largely centered on water savings in agriculture. You may find further information at this address: http://gem.sciences-po.fr/content/research_team/pdf/

Keyword(s): Virtual water, water savings, agriculture, trade


Agriculture remains central to Mediterranean economic development. It is also the main user of water as it employs 65% of all water withdrawals in the region. Virtual water is defined as the quantity of water needed to produce a good or a service. In particular, international trade in crops involves virtual transfers from one country to another of the water embedded in the production process of agricultural commodities. Trade liberalization in agriculture might lead to significant water savings whenever trade flows are set out in a way that water efficient countries are favoured.

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