Developing the country’s irrigation infrastructure is non-negotiable – Dr Nyaaba

Dr Charles Nyaaba

Dr Charles Nyaaba, the Executive Director of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), says developing the country’s irrigation infrastructure is non-negotiable if farmers have to adapt to the impact of climate change and develop the agricultural sector.

He said irrigation played a crucial role in sustaining agriculture, ensuring food security, and supporting livelihoods around the world.

He said by providing water to crops at the right time and in the right amount, irrigation helped farmers to increase crop yields and grow a variety of crops throughout the year.

Dr Nyaaba said typical examples of irrigation in agricultural development were Israel, Egypt, China, Libya, and Burkina Faso. 

The Executive Director said irrigation contributed significantly to the economy by boosting agricultural productivity, creating employment opportunities, and supporting rural development. 

“Our experience is that in all our operational areas; poverty is less endemic in districts with proper irrigation infrastructure compared with those without and no country in today’s era, developed its agricultural sector without developing its irrigation infrastructure,” he added.

He said to address the irrigation situation in Ghana, the government in 2019 undertook various irrigation initiatives to improve the number of irrigable lands under cultivation, especially in Northern Ghana. 

The “One Village One Dam” (1V1D) initiative, which has the primary objective of providing at least one dam in every village to ensure all-year-round agriculture is a typical example. 

From 2019 to 2020 alone, 400 smaller dams were dug across Northern Ghana to ensure support for agriculture and domestic activities during the dry season.  

He said irrigation was key to the activities of PFAG, “we assessed in 2020 to ascertain how useful these dams could be to our members.” 

Dr Nyaaba said unfortunately, the findings suggested very poor construction of most of the dams leading to low patronage. 

He said consistent advocacy by PFAG led to the commitment of resources for the rehabilitation of some of these dams in the 2022 budget.

These include the Kataa and Duong in the Upper West Region; Vunania in the Upper East Region; Sangbaa in the Northern Region; as well as Kachilende and Sunyeri in the Savannah Region. 

However, the dams were funded under two separate categories and delivered different outcomes to the beneficiaries.

With Funding from GIZ, under the Sustainable Employment through AgriBusiness (AgriBiz) in Ghana”, the PFAG engaged a consultant to assess the state and sustainability of the two categories of the dams.

The Vunania Electoral Area dam, funded by the World Bank and supervised by the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and the Gia dam funded under the 1V1D with the supervision of private consultants recruited by the Ministry of Special Initiative. 

Source: GNA

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