Accra, July 14, GNA – The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to protect the nation’s irrigation lands from encroachers to promote poverty alleviation and food security.
Dr Ben Vas Nyamadi, GIDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said government’s policy of ensuring regular supply of fresh vegetables to cities like Accra and Tema led to the creation of irrigation schemes at Dawhenya, Ashaiman and Weija, but over the years individuals and estate developers had encroached on the lands.
He said the savannah belt of the country, covering Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Greater Accra, Volta and the upper part of the Brong Ahafo Regions has single rainy season, with a prolong dry season, hence, the need to promote irrigation farming in such areas to provide jobs for the youth.
Dr Nyamadi, who made the appeal in an interview with Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday, recounted that ‘even in the heart of most major cities of the world such as London, Paris and Tokyo, there are farmlands, and ‘the MMDAs must ensure that our cities are not left out.’
He urged the District Security Agencies to join hands with the MMDAs and GIDA in the efforts to protect irrigation lands.
He said the present irrigation schemes had contributed a lot to livelihood empowerment, food security and household incomes.
‘Ghana has about 13.6 million hectares of agricultural lands, of which 1.9 million hectares are potential areas for irrigation development.’
Dr Nyamadi said the total land area currently under irrigation in the country is 207,000 hectares.
He said private individuals have taken up irrigation very seriously and investors are keen to invest in the sector.
The CEO said government in the 1960s, noticed the critical role of irrigation in the nation’s socio-economic development, and therefore started some irrigation schemes, that are now serving the purposes for which they were set up.
He expressed gratitude to the Korean Government for rehabilitating the Dawhenya and Akumadan Irrigation Schemes with a total grant of $ 5.8 million, which were completed and handed over on April 24.
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