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How much water is in the meat on your plate?

By Jane Gitau
What is a ‘water footprint’ and why does it matter? Does it differ between developing and developed countries? These are some of the questions that renown professor in Water Management, Arjen Y. Hoekstra will attempt to answer to an ILRI audience on February 7, 2013.

The University of Twente, Netherlands Professor will be on a three day visit to Kenya during which time he will visit project sites, supervise students and give the talk at ILRI’s John Vercoe Auditorium. It will be beamed live to ILRI Addis Ababa and livestreamed on the internet via

Prof Hoekstra is creator of the water footprint concept and established the interdisciplinary research field of Water Footprint Assessment. The water footprint research addresses the relations between water management, consumption and trade. His books include Perspectives on Water (1998), Globalization of Water (2008), The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (2011) and The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society (2013).

He observes that the increase in the consumption of animal products is likely to put further pressure on the world’s freshwater resources and nearly one-third of the total water footprint of agriculture in the world is related to the production of animal products. However, animal products from grazing systems have a smaller water footprint than products from industrial systems.

Hoekstra will provide a comprehensive account of the water footprint of animal products, considering different production systems and feed composition per animal type and country.

“Future water scarcity cannot be addressed without proper understanding of the relationship between livestock and the indirect use of water”, he says.
The talk will be held at ILRI Nairobi campus, John Vercoe Auditorium (JVC) from 1500- 1600 hours.

Join the live presentation of this seminar online:
‘Livestock live talks’ is a seminar series at ILRI that aims to address livestock-related issues, mobilize external as well as in-house expertise and audiences and engage the livestock community around interdisciplinary conversations that ask hard questions and seek to refine current research concepts and practices.

Please visit for this and other livestock stories.

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