A project to increase rice productivity and profitability and to promote a market-oriented approach to the production of rice in the country has been launched.
Dubbed, “Enhancing Market-Based Agriculture by Smallholders and Private Sector Linkages in Kpong Irrigation Scheme”, the project is being implemented by the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assisting.
Scheduled to end 2021, the project also aims to develop the capacity of GIDA and the Water User Association (WUA) in scheme management oversight and water management respectively.
This was made known at the project’s first Joint Co-ordinating Committee (JCC) meeting held at the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) in Accra.
The meeting was attended by representatives from GIDA, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP), the Embassy of Japan, JICA and the MASAPS-KIS Project team.
Since the turn of the 21st century, JICA has had a successful cooperation with the government of Ghana in developing the irrigation sub-sector particularly in the area of improving irrigation farming systems and farmers’ participation in irrigation management.
Emphasising on their continued commitment to develop the sub-sector, a Senior Representative of JICA, NorihitoYonebayashi indicated that: “JICA is committed to complementing rain-fed based agriculture in the country with irrigated practices to help mitigate the impact that climate change is having on the nation’s agriculture output in relation to domestic rice production”.
This, he said, was to “support efforts of the government in implementing the third pillar of the Nairobi Declaration of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in Kenya in August 2016 in which African Heads of State resolved to promote social stability for shared prosperity by addressing issues such as climate change”.
On his part, the Chief Executive of GIDA, Dr. Ben Vas Nyamadi, appreciated the continuous support that JICA had been providing to the Authority to enable her to deliver on its mandate.
He also informed the JCC that: “considering the vast experience JICA has in training farmers to participate in irrigation management, the training modules developed by JICA for enhancing the capacity of the WUA in Kpong Irrigation Scheme (KIS) will be utilised in training other WUAs in the remaining public irrigation schemes to enable them also efficiently utilise water for their activities as well as operate and maintain the irrigation infrastructure”.
The MASAPS-KIS Project will benefit over 2,500 farmers in KIS in the area of increasing their productivity and profitability of rice farming, water management, operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure and enhance their marketing strategies in selling their rice.
These favourable developments in the scheme will also generate positive rippling effects on the activities of other value chain actors such as aggregators, processors and agriculture machinery service providers.
On their part, GIDA will also benefit from a training programme under the project to effectively execute their new mandate of performing both regulatory and oversight roles on the management of irrigation schemes.