Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, IWMI sign MoU to deepen collaboration in sustainable water management

Ghana Irrigation Development Authority and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen collaboration and ensure sustainable water management and irrigation practices.

The MoU, which is heavily tilted towards research, will also look at training smallholder farmers to sustainably utilize the water resources. 

Dr Martin Smith, IWMI Director General and Richard Oppong-Boateng, Acting Chief Executive Officer of GIDA, signed the deal on behalf of their institutions.

Commenting on the five-year agreement, Mr Oppong-Boateng expressed the hope that the strategic partnerships would serve as fundamental resource for organisations to develop and expand linkages with well-established institutions.

“Ghana has the potential to produce more and export to neighbouring countries.  We can only do that when we have sustainable water resources. Through this MoU, we are going to do a lot of research to look at how we can predict the rainfall and also how we can model our water resources,” he said.

The Authority currently manages over 180 irrigation schemes and has the vision of developing the available water resources and irrigation potential of about 1.9 million hectares for livelihood options in agriculture, (irrigation, livestock watering and aquaculture) at appropriate scales for smallholder and commercial farmers in all communities throughout the country.

“We are very grateful and happy to see the signing of the MoU and hope it will help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 towards achieving water quality and sustainability for the survival of people and the planet,” he said.

Mr Oppong-Boateng said the MoU would also bring on board expertise to predict with satellite imagery and modelling instead of using runoff coefficients in design of dams. 

Also, the MoU will help to mitigate the effect of climate change through the use of climate smart technologies, placing a limit on water usage and still have high production levels. 

“If we don’t manage our resources well, we will not be able to have water to produce food. So, for the small-holder farmer who doesn’t know anything about water conservation through this capacity building training, we will be able to tell them and even train them how they should use their water resources.”

On his part, Dr Smith said the MoU would deepen and make closer the strategic partnership IWMI have with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority.

He said the two institutions had a shared objective to support the development of irrigation in Ghana to make sure it was sustainable and inclusive as well as productive.

Dr Smith said IWMI had been working in Ghana for the last 20 years on water management and irrigation development in a whole variety of respects that met maximum potential for supporting and strengthening farmers, their livelihoods and their families’ well-being. 

On measuring the impact of the project, Dr Smith said the partners would clearly want to see that “a partnership like this is really driving change and driving impacts, especially impacts in policy and investment and the way that works.”

Also, impact on the ground that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

He said to implement the joint activities with GIDA, there was quite comprehensive monitoring frameworks for tracking the results and the impacts of our programmes together. 

“So, we’ll be sure to have a strong evidence-based story to tell about the success, we hope, of this partnership,” Dr Smith added.

He said IWMI was focused on driving change in water management that makes a difference in people’s lives through more formalized training approaches that we would build into different projects and also through partnerships that work from the ground through institutions, whether local water management institutions or district level water management institutions.

Dr Olufunke Cofie, IWMI West Africa Regional Representative, said the Institute was proud about co-developing innovations with stakeholders and beneficiaries, including smallholder farmers, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations that are working with farmers as well.

“So, we’ve co-developed two innovations. One is about transforming waste into fertilizer, which we have done together and it’s being commercialized,” she said.

Dr Cofie said IWMI continued to use its expertise to support the efforts of the government to take irrigation to the next level, to expand the area of irrigation, and to improve irrigation practices, particularly in the northern area where they only have opportunity to cultivate once a year.

“There’s a need to improve the income and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by helping them with innovations, technologies, practices that they can draw on water whether it’s surface water or groundwater resources, to use it to have dry season production systems.  We help people to be more engaged, we help people to generate income,” she added.

The occasion was also used to showcase the activities of IWMI to stakeholders in areas such as agricultural water management and irrigation, drawing attention to faecal sludge management, strengthening individual and institutions, contributing to their capacity through graduate studies, facilitating policy dialogue, contributing knowledge, evidence-based knowledge into policy processes, either in the agricultural sector or in the water and sanitation sector, something that we have been actively doing in Ghana.

Stakeholders also had a virtual reality experience.

Source: GNA

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