Ghana rehabilitates country’s irrigation schemes to ensure food security

GHANA – Top International Engineering Cooperation (TIEC) has completed the rehabilitation of the Tono Irrigation Dam in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality, Upper East Region of Ghana.

The Chinese company Top International Engineering Cooperation (TIEC) implemented the irrigation project over a period of 36 months, with a budget of US$36 million.

The Ghanaian government obtained the funds from several funding partners, including the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The work carried out by TIEC consisted of the reconstruction of the retaining walls, irrigation canals, dam floor, laterals, and other parts of the structure built-in 1975. The spillway of the water reservoir has also been rehabilitated.

According to the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, the re-commissioning of the Tono Dam (4km long) will make water available for the irrigation of 2,490 hectares of rice fields and vegetable plantations in the communities of Kassena-Nankana and Builsa.

“Among the immediate benefits of the project is an increase in rice yield from 4.5 to 5.5 tonnes per hectare, which has led to increased production and farm income.

“Some 14,264 smallholder farmers have benefited directly, creating 40,000 jobs in several value chain activities generated by the irrigation projects,” said the Ghanaian president.

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The dam will boost the agricultural sector that offer opportunities for greater livelihoods security and poverty reduction in northern Ghana where climatic conditions do not allow for an all-year-around agricultural production.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the rehabilitation of the Tono Irrigation Dam is part of the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) which has so far recorded 13,190 hectares of additional irrigable land through the rehabilitation of the Tono, Kpong Left Bank, and Kpong irrigation schemes.

The West African country has also received a €44.7 million grant from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU), as part of the Agriculture Water Management Project (AWMP) to build and rehabilitate a total of 35 irrigation schemes in northern Ghana.

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The project would support the expansion of irrigated agriculture in northern Ghana, covering 11 Districts in the Upper West Region, two districts, and one District in the North East Region.

It will be implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) to stimulate green and inclusive growth, reduce inequalities and improve Ghana’s food security.

“The AWMP programme dovetails perfectly into our Planting-For-Food and Jobs Programme as it would help address food insecurity issues and improve the income of farmers and promote poverty eradication,” said Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance.

Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the project would help develop the untapped irrigation potential in Northern Ghana.

The project is set to provide an additional and reliable source of income for more than 6000 smallholder farmers, who currently rely on unpredictable rain-fed agriculture and are increasingly exposed to extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods.

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