Management of the West Africa Center for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA), a center of excellence at the University for Development (UDS), has been urged to collaborate with relevant institutions by building linkages towards irrigation and agriculture water management use to promote and sustain food security in the sub-region.
“If irrigation infrastructure can be provided, many places in the savannah and arid ecological zones of the sub-region would be mitigated of the frequent and prolong dry season that affects food productions,” Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Sagre Bambangi said.
In a speech read on behalf of the sector minister, Dr. Akoto Osei, he made the call at the second international conference on Irrigation and Agricultural Development (IRAD) held at the University for Development Studies (UDS).
The three-day WACWISA conference organized by UDS on the theme ‘Water resources development for sustainable agricultural systems’, with funding from the World Bank was aimed at a creating a platform for all stakeholders to deliberate on the sectors challenges and growth strategies in Africa.
The forum, which brought together academia, research scientists, students, among other stakeholders was also to help promote the exchange of innovative ideas among sector players in the sub-region, disseminate scientific knowledge for the sectors’ growth.
Some issues discussed were policy interventions to improve irrigated food production and nutrition in Africa as well, farmer education on recommended and appropriate methods for improved yield of irrigated cropping system especially the use of agro-inputs, establishment of relevant linkages with the sector players among others.
According to the minister, there is the need to develop water resources to ensure sustainable agriculture.
The Upper West Regional Minister Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih said government is committed providing alternative livelihood programmes to boost food security and alleviate poverty. He noted that government has therefore initiated construction of many dams across the five regions in the north to facilitate year round crop productions to feed the nation.
The Director of WACWISA and Pro-Vice Chancellor at UDS Prof Felix K. Abagale noted that Ghana has an irrigational potential of 1.9million hectares but only 11.6 percent is being used. He said the investment in the opportunities would contribute to the reduction of the unemployment prevalence in the country especially among the youth.