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Weija Irrigation Scheme to benefit from FAO grant

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FAOWeija Irrigation Scheme is to benefit from an Emergency Response Grant from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to construct underground pipes and cover canals to avoid perennial flooding of farms and prevent the blocking of the canals by deposition of silt.

The open nature of the canals allows deposition of silt from the surrounding hills to block it, thereby depriving farmers of water for irrigation.

Ashiaman Irrigation Scheme and private farms within the Accra metropolis will also benefit from the grant, which is aimed at restoring production capacity of affected farms as well as rehabilitating Weija irrigation Scheme.

A team comprising representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the National Disaster Management Organization, FAO and Ghana Irrigation Development Authority have conducted a rapid assessment of the area.

Mr Faizal Adams, National Project Coordinator at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said early September, FAO regional Office in Accra presented a grant of 500,000 dollars to the Government of Ghana to support farmers who were affected by the June 3, 2015 flood disaster in Accra.

The grant is under its Emergency Corporate Social Support programme for the restoration of productive capacities of Agricultural Households of affected farmers.

Mr Kwesi Asare Mintah, Director of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department of Ghana Irrigation Authority, said the money has been approved and work will start soon after the technical reports were presented.

He said the grant apart from assisting them with infrastructure, would also give them approved seeds, agro-chemicals and other agricultural inputs to cut down farmers’ cost of operation.

He said any time it rained, it overflowed to the farms because the canal had no depths to collect the rainfall as a result of silting of drains and choking of the culverts.

“The farmers have to use communal labour and hire excavators to collect the silt any time it rains and this is making cost of production very high,” he said.

Mr Mintah explained that they have to impose levies on the farmers to be able to hire the excavator because all irrigation fees go in to payment of electricity bills, maintenance of pumps, desilting of the canal, among others.

The scheme currently has 220 hectares of land out of which 25 hectares are rain-fed. During the Accra floods about 80 per cent of the land got flooded, he added.

Mr Bright K. Demordzi, Member of Parl;iament for Bortianor/Ngleshie Amanfro Constituency, commended the FAO for the support which, he said would benefit the farmers, create more jobs in the agriculture sector as well as improve standard of living in the Constituency.

The FAO grant will be used to restore farming activities of 2,200 small holder farmers cultivating over 2,800 hectares of vegetables, rice and maize in the Accra metropolis and its environs, and to build their capacities in climate change and adaptation strategies.

Source: GNA

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