AN improved technology to boost irrigation farming for small holder farmers was launched in Accra on Wednesday.
The new technology uses either hand or foot to pump water to irrigate farms instead of using water pumps which use electricity or fuel.
The technology dubbed ‘moneymaker’ being implemented by KickStart an NGO seeks to improve on lives of farmers and increase productivity of farmers as well.
The Director of Programme and Partnership Development of KickStart, Mr. John Kinaga said Africa was endowed with fertile land; unfortunately cultivation was done by rural dwellers who used manpower means to undertake their activities.
He said farmers on the continent could not do all year-round farming because of the erratic rainfall pattern.
He however, stated that the introduction of the new technology would ease the hussle that farmers go through to get water onto their farms and to improve on their yields.
Mr. Kinaga said with the unstable climate and the unpredictable weather conditions, it was important to look at alternative means to engage in all year-round farming.
The Director, Planning and Co-ordination at the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, Mr. Kwesi Asare Mintah said Ghana had a total land area of 23.9 million hectares.
He noted that the irrigable potential land was 1.9 million hectares out of which only 221.00 hectares representing, 12 per cent had been developed by both public and private sector leaving 88 per cent of the potential land untapped.
Mr. Mintah said about 85 per cent of cultivation in the country depended on rain noting that the advent of the new technology would not only improve yield but save time.
His outfit, he said had submitted a memorandum to cabinet to review the cost of electricity which was being used by farmers for cultivation.
The memorandum also captured the need for private sector participation to boost farming.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed M. Limuna pledged government’s support towards the agriculture sector.
He mentioned fertiliser subsidy, road improvement project to the farming communities among others as some of the initiatives that the government had undertaken to improve the lives of farmers and improve productivity.
Mr. Alexander Nyarko Anim, Regional Director, KickStart, said the Ghana office has been in existence since 2014 and had been working closely with farmers and some local people in some farming communities to promote the use of technology in farming.
He said the farmers could purchase the ‘MoneyMaker’ machines directly from the company or through NGOs engaged in promoting agriculture in the country.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour