Agricultural Water Management Project to bolster green growth in Ghana
Image: credit: 123RF.com
Funds have been made available to build and rehabilitate a total of 35 irrigation schemes in North-Western Ghana.
The Government of Ghana, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU) have signed the Agriculture Water Management Project valued at $49.1 million. The project, to be implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), aims at stimulating green and inclusive growth, reducing inequalities and improving Ghana’s food security.
Held at the Ministry of Finance, the ceremony saw the exchange of signatures between the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, and the AFD Country Director, Christophe Cottet. The agreement was co-signed by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and the French Ambassador to Ghana, Anne-Sophie Avé. The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and the EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, were also present.
Through the Agriculture Water Management Project (AWMP), the signatories have agreed to join forces to support irrigation in Northern Ghana, where 85% of the population makes a living from agriculture. The construction of irrigation systems is essential to increase yields in the targeted regions of Upper West, Savannah and North East Regions. It will provide an additional and reliable source of income for more than 6,000 smallholder farmers. These farmers currently rely on unpredictable rain-fed agriculture and are increasingly exposed to extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods.
The European Union ($43.6m) and French ($5.5m) grants, will be managed by AFD with the MoFA and GIDA as implementing partners. It will finance the rehabilitation and construction of 15 dams, 11 boreholes and 9 pumping stations on the Black Volta River, and their associated 1300 hectares of irrigated perimeters. The project will encourage farmers to move from rain-fed to irrigated agriculture, support the Water Users Associations to run the irrigation scheme and build GIDA’s capacity to supervise these schemes.
AWMP forms part of the European Union partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support agriculture in northern Ghana with $145m (EU-Ghana Agriculture Programme–EUGAP). The programme’s main objectives are to improve the quality of life of communities who derive most of their income from agriculture and to develop agriculture as a sustainable business.
Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships: “The project we are signing today will support smallholder farmers to make their yields more predictable and increase their income. It is an ambitious and important investment, which will boost the socio-economic development of regions in northern Ghana, essential for the development and stability of the country”.
Anne Sophie Avé, Ambassador of France to Ghana said investing in agriculture is investing in the future. “Whatever the technologies, however drastically the world may change, human will always need food. Planting for food and jobs, indeed, but also planting for peace and security and planting for sustainability: this project will enable better jobs and revenues, environment friendly agriculture, all year round production, and ensure food provision for all.”
Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance said the AWMP is consistent with the Government of Ghana’s priorities, as it addresses the key issues faced by smallholder farmers and farming systems in the northern regions of Ghana. The project will be a major boost for their Planting-For-Food and Jobs Programme because it will increase productivity, address food insecurity issues, improve income of farmers and promote poverty eradication.
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