Accra, May 30, GNA – The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) said irrigation farming holds the key to Ghana’s self-sufficiency in rice production.
Dr Ben Vas Nyamadi, GIDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said currently, the nation is generating 56 per cent of its rice needs of which 30 per cent is from irrigation farming.
He observed that, so far the measures government had put in place to fill up the short fall of 44 per cent were beginning to yield good returns, declaring that with emphasis being placed on irrigation farming the nation would be self-sufficient in rice production by the year 2018.
Dr Nyamadi was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday and said current strategies to grow the sector by 13.2 per cent would lead to 100 per cent production by 2018.
He attributed the increase in local rice production to the crucial roles agri-businesses played in its production and processing.
He stated that for this year, the government had made available to the Authority GH₵ 40 million, which would be used for honouring outstanding payments and for rehabilitating dams and dug-outs in the country.
Dr Nyamadi said the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund had also given GIDA twenty million Ghana cedis for a review of previous studies on potential irrigation fields in the country; and also to take up three projects which were initiated by the Millennium Development Authority, but could not be completed due to time constraint.
He said areas that would be tackled include the construction of a dam at Tamni in the Guru-Tempani District of the Upper East Region; rehabilitation of the Nasia and Libga dams in the Northern Region; Amartey in the Afraim Plains of the Eastern Region and Mprumem in the Central Region.
The CEO said the study, which would cover the Ho-Keta plains and Kpli in the Volta Region, Sebele in the Northern Region and Kamba in the Upper West Region, would be completed within the year.
Dr Nyamadi said the feasibility studies would promote public-private partnership in irrigation farming in the country.
He said the Authority is collaborating with Social Opportunity Project in Labour Intensity Public Works, by providing them with services for the rehabilitation of dams and dug outs in 49 districts, which would soon be scaled up to 60.
He said GIDA would soon roll-out a Food and Agriculture Organization programme for the provision of dams and dug-outs in conflict prone zones such as Bawku and Yendi, to engage the youth in agriculture, so as to help promote peace in these areas.
He urged government to invest more in irrigation farming in order to ensure food security and to provide employment opportunities for the teaming youth of the country.