Agronomist advocates irrigation farming to supplement rain-fed agriculture
Dr George Y. Mahama, an Agronomist, has said there is the need for government to improve irrigation farming to supplement the current rain-fed agriculture in order to reduce the impact of climate change.
Climate change, in recent years, has triggered global consistent concern, with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, being dedicated to the fight against the high climate conditions and its impact on humans and the environment.
Agriculture is the backbone of Ghana’s economy and contributes significantly to the national Gross Domestic Product.
About 70% of the population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture-fisheries, crop and animal farming and forestry sector for both timber and non-timber forest products.
Dr. Mahama, who works at the Wa station of Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), told the Ghana News Agency that: “Any anomaly in the climate, therefore, tends to affect the economy, particularly the vulnerable”.
He attributed the continuous climate change to unbridled human activities including destruction of forests as well as irregular rainfall pattern which affects soil nutrients and soil water for plant growth.
Over reliance on rain-fed agriculture, Dr. Mahama noted, posed a serious threat to food security since farmers failed to determine appropriate time to plant their crops to maximize rainfall, which impacted negatively on productivity and crop yield.
“Based on a 20-year baseline climate observation, it is forecasted that maize production and other cereal crop yields, will reduce by 7% by 2050,” he said.
He advised seed growers to develop draught and flood resistant varieties for farmers to counter the adverse effect of climate conditions and erratic rainfall pattern.
He also implored stakeholders including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to train more Agricultural Extension Officers on new farming technologies to enhance support for farmers to raise productivity and improve their livelihoods.
The Government is implementing Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme in an effort to boost the agricultural sector.
However, the negative impact of climate change could hamper the success of the programme, according to researchers, if the necessary steps were not taken to mitigate its impact.