GCAP to rehabilitate and modernise irrigation schemes to boost agric production

The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) will rehabilitate and modernise selected irrigation schemes in the country to boost agricultural production and increase food security in the country.

The irrigation schemes earmarked for rehabilitation include Kpong Irrigation Scheme, Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Scheme as well as the Tono and Vea Irrigation Schemes in the Upper East Region.

The rehabilitation of the irrigation schemes is expected to provide 6,690ha of arable land with improved irrigation and drainage services of which 1,550ha is new development.

GCAP’s support to farmers is intended to encourage them to venture into commercial farming  and  not to see farming as just a way of life and for only domestic consumption but strive to produce for the market.

In view of this, the Government of Ghana is to procure an additional US$ 50million from the World Bank to enable it complete the irrigation components of the project. This is in addition to a $100m credit facility already procured from the World Bank in year 2013 and a grant of US$19.81million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – an independent agency of the United States Federal Government.

In a proposed restructuring, GCAP will complement government’s flagship programme of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) to ensure economic growth for the country.

The Project Coordinator of GCAP, Mr. Charles Nornoo, announced this at a one-day Disclosure and Dissemination Workshop on an updated Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) held in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.

The workshop’s essence was to educate GCAP’s stakeholders on the contents of the updated documents – Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and the Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF).

The objectives of the workshop were to: keep stakeholders informed of proposed changes to the project; provide sufficient information to its  stakeholders to ensure their continuous involvement in the project’s implementation activities;  assure stakeholders that relevant mechanisms are in place to ameliorate the potential environmental and social impacts of the remaining project activities; and, Seek the support of its stakeholders in diverse ways especially in monitoring of environmental and social issues.

He noted that the deplorable state of irrigation schemes is affecting agricultural production in the country and necessitated the need to review the documents as a precondition to access a further US$ 50m from the World Bank to be able to complete the rehabilitation of the schemes.

Mr. Nornoo said the effort is meant to encourage investors into agriculture so as to help harness the vast potential in the sector to create job opportunities and raise the income of farmers.

“In order to meet the requirement, we have to assess the environment to ensure that there is no negative impact on the people in the area where the projects will be carried out,” he added.

According to him, efforts are being made to encourage the youths, especially, to venture into agriculture so as to grow the economy.

“GCAP is to improve agricultural productivity and production for both smallholder and nucleus farms in selected project intervention areas – with increased access to reliable water, land, finance, agricultural inputs and output markets,” he stated.

He challenged the farmers to adopt modern technology and good farming practices which will ensure increased yields.

Dr. Sumani Alhassan, a farmer and Director of Libga Farms Ltd said the support from GCAP has helped to increase crop production.

He also appealed to colleague farmers to adopt modern agricultural practices to increase production as well produce to meet demands of the market.