The government is to undertake a $105m rehabilitation project from next month on three irrigation schemes to boost agriculture production in the country.
They are VeaandTono Irrigation Schemes in the Upper East Region and Kpone Irrigation Scheme in the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions respectively.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, DrOwusuAfriyieAkoto, inaugurating the Board of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) in Accra yesterday, said, the move was to enable farmers to easily access a water source for agricultural activities.
He said the Ministry had commercialised the use of the irrigation schemes to help in the repayment of funds secured for the rehabilitation works.
So far, he noted that, 14 companies had been enlisted and have taken up more than 3,000 hectares of land to be cultivated for commercial farming operations.
The Minister advised the Board, chaired by OseiOwusuAgyeman, to institute effective maintenance and management culture to ensure returns on the investment.
He said the government was expecting increased food production as a consequence of the investments in the country’s irrigation schemes and support Ghana’s transformation agenda.
Dr Akoto asked the Board to take stock and repossess all assets of the Authority which were currently being used by former staff, and work towards making the Authority financially independent.
He charged them to recruit the services of competent managers the schemes and institute strategies aimed at maximising expected outcomes.
On his part, Mr Agyeman said the Board would work to promote use of irrigation in all sectors of government’s agricultural programmes.
Other members of the Board are Wilson Darkwa, KwakuWiafe, George Prah, Gladys MamteeOsabutey, Prof Mike Yaw Osei-Atweneboana, Dr Edward Yeboah, Dr Samuel Kwame Kumahor, Peter De-Reer, Nana OwusuAchiaw and SurajBoadi.
In a related development, the Minister also inaugurated the National Seed Council and charged the members to spearhead efforts to sustain growth in seeds and food production to promote food security.
He noted that despite years of research into various varieties of seeds, little had been done in upscaling the production of those seeds.
With an increase in the availability of Extension Officers in the country, he asked the Council to take advantage of growing value chain of the seed industry to make Ghana a net exporter.
The Council is chaired by Josiah Wobil, with Prof. Moses Brandford Mochiah, Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, BentsilQuaye, Alhaji Nuhu Salifu Orison, Seidu Mubarak Abdulai, Dr Michael Yao Osae, Samuel Boadu and Dr Veronica Boakye Kufuor as members.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS