Pollution of water resources poses risk to agricultural sector

Continuous pollution of the country’s water resources through illegal mining activities poses a real risk to the agricultural sector, an expert in the matter has warned.

Prof. Felix. K. Abagale, who is Director for the West African Centre for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA) – a centre of excellence, in a communique made available to the B&FT lamented that contamination of water-bodies and land resources could go a long way to derail the efforts of government and its partners in achieving food security for the country.

The communiqué contains the views of participants at the second edition of the Irrigation and Agricultural Development (IRAD) conference, an international conference that took place at the University of Development Studies, Tamale, in the Northern Region. It was on the theme ‘Water resources development for sustainable agricultural systems’.

He said there is a need to intensify efforts and strengthen stakeholder partnerships for proper management of the water resources to boost agriculture, as well as for other uses.

According to the communique, participants called for a guided approach to government’s investments in capacity building for small- to medium-scale farmer-managed irrigated projects.  They further underscored the importance of improved recognition and support for private enterprises in the irrigation and agricultural development sector of the country.

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Additionally, they entreated all African states to expedite the process of signing and ratifying all agriculture and environmental management treaties of the African Union, in order to make them functional and beneficial.

Other recommendations include the need for investment by all African countries in the generation of accurate and timely data on the agriculture sector to accelerate growth of the sector and continent; and increased investment and funding for the African Union Research Grants (AURG) programme, in order to promote investments, collaborations and capacity building within Africa through enhanced research and educational partnerships.

“AURG was noted as a very important pillar necessary to support education and cutting-edge research by Africa and for Africa, as investment in the grant will support achieving some of the goals under the AU Agenda 2063, Aspiration 1 – which talks about a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development,” said the communique signed by Abagale.

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