Rehabilitation work on the Tono Irrigation Dam has been completed and it’s ready to fully serve the needs of farmers, President Akufo-Addo has announced.

The Tono Dam, one of the largest agricultural dams in West Africa, is a 4-kilometer-long dam that serves as a water source for all-year-round farming.

The dam irrigates an estimated 2,490 hectares of land, serving more than seven villages in the Kassena Nankana district of the Upper East Region.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in parliament yesterday, the president said the government’s significant investment into the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) has created a total of 13,190 hectares of additional irrigable land through rehabilitation of the Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes for rice and vegetable cultivation.

Immediate benefits of rehabilitating the aforementioned schemes, according to the president, include improved rice yields from 4.5 tonnes per hectare to 5.5 tonnes per hectare – leading to increased production and growth in farm incomes.

“The achievements in irrigation development has benefitted some 14,264 smallholder beneficiaries directly, creating some 40,000 jobs along with several value chain activities of the schemes,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo attributed the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative’s successes to these key irrigation projects, adding: “There is no doubt that but for the vigorous interventions we have made in agriculture during the past five years, which have made us more self-reliant in our food needs, our country would have been at much greater risk today”.

Scope of irrigation infrastructure in Ghana

There are 22 irrigations projects all over the country constructed by the Irrigation Development Authority, covering a total of 6,505 hectares (ha).

In addition to this, there are another 22 schemes constructed under the Small-Scale Irrigation Development Project (SSIDP) and six schemes under the (Small Farms Irrigation Project) SFIP. Each of these projects is less than 1,000 ha in size – except for the Tono and Kpong irrigation projects which have about 2,500 hectares developed.

Recent gov’t interventions in irrigation

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has recently engaged nine large-scale investors in addition to smallholder farmers at the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP) who will be producing rice, maize and vegetables on 1,300 hectares – using modern production technologies to achieve improved productivity and production – within the next three months.

The government has also invested in the vegetable sector through the Ghana Peri-urban Vegetable Value Chain Project. An irrigation infrastructure covering a total of 541 hectares, directly impacts vegetable farmers in the Greater Accra Region and has been provided by the government.

Equally, the construction of 80 warehouses with a combined storage capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes has been completed, and their entry into the food production chain is offering better protection to the harvests of farmers.

These interventions, the president said, go a long way to affirm the government’s commitment to developing agriculture to the optimum.

The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) is a government project being implemented under MoFA. The project’s objective is to improve agricultural productivity and production of both smallholder and nucleus farms in selected project intervention areas of the recipient’s territory.

Source: Business and Financial Times