Rehabilitation Of irrigation Schemes To Be Completed In 2020
Selected irrigation schemes undergoing rehabilitation works in parts of the country are expected to be completed this year.
The project, which forms part of the government One-village, One-dam initiative, is intended to ensure all-year round farming in beneficiary communities.
The rehabilitation works are being carried out at Kpong and Akuse in the Eastern Region and Tono in the Upper East Region.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, explained that the project was aimed at improving the agricultural sector to help farmers make the most out of their toil.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the minister by a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops, Dr Sagre Bambangi, at the second international conference on Irrigation and Agricultural Development (IRAD) in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale.
The three-day conference, which opened last Tuesday, is being organised by the West African Centre for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA), a centre of excellence at the University for Development Studies (UDS).
It is on the theme: “Water resources development for sustainable agricultural systems”.
Participants include members of academia, researchers, policy makers, farmers, students and stakeholders in the irrigation sector who are deliberating on how water resources could be developed for sustainable agricultural development in Africa.
The WACWISA, which is a Government of Ghana (GoG)-funded programme, with support from the World Bank, trains high-level officials at masters and doctoral (PhD) levels, as well as conducts cutting-edge research through post-doctoral training in the areas of water resources, irrigation engineering, sustainable agriculture and climate change for the growth and development of the African continent.
Dr Akoto urged beneficiaries of the irrigation facilities to ensure their proper usage and routine maintenance by putting in place competent management systems.
He said the theme for the conference reflected the need to develop Ghana’s water resources for sustainable food production.
He further explained that the One-village, One-dam initiative was aimed at ensuring all-year-round agricultural production, especially in the five regions of the north.
He said through efficient irrigation systems, the agricultural sector would improve to help drive the country towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) One, Two and Six.
SDG One seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, while SDG Two aims at ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.
SDG 6 is also to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation in the Northern Savannah Zone.
“If irrigation infrastructure can be provided in many places in the Savannah and arid ecological zones of the sub-region, the negative impact of frequent and prolonged dry seasons which characterise these areas will be mitigated,” he said.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, said the government was committed to improving the livelihoods of the people in the north.
He said it was for that reason that it initiated the construction of dams across the five regions of the north (Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and North East) to facilitate all-year round crop production.
The Director of WACWISA, Prof. Felix K. Abagale, who is also the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the UDS, said even though Ghana had an irrigation potential of 1.9 million hectares, only 11.6 per cent (221,000 hectares ) was utilised.
According to him, the remaining irrigable potential area (88.4 per cent) was available for investment to boost food security in the country.
Prof. Abagale said the UDS was well positioned to provide technical and advisory services in the Savannah zone, especially in the delivery of the 1V,1D policy of the government.