Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have expressed their preparedness to continue supporting rice cultivation, irrigation schemes and market-oriented agriculture across the country.
This follows the success recorded in rice cultivation through the Kpong Irrigation Scheme (KIS), under the Project for Enhancing Market-Based Agriculture by Smallholders and Private Sector Linkages in Kpong Irrigation Scheme (MASAPS-KIS), in the Eastern Region.
The project was established to improve the productivity and profitability of rice cultivation at the Kpong Irrigation Scheme.
The stakeholders are Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and the Ministry of Foods and Agriculture.
Through the project, they are ensuring that rice cultivation increases and stable water distribution is enhanced.
Speaking at a seminar jointly organised by JICA and GIDA, the Chief Advisor for the Project, Mr Toru Takahashi, disclosed that in March 2018, two pilot Water Users Associations (WUAs) were approved for the first time in Ghana in March 2018 while in June 2019, all 15 WUAs in KIS were registered, and nearly three thousands farmers has been registered as the member of WUA.
He revealed that the collection rate of Irrigation Service Charge (ISC) in KIS has also improved and two Model WUAs in 2019 achieved more than 90 percent in 2019.
He also indicated that the average yield of the farmers who were trained under the project achieved 6,1ton/ha on 2020 Major season and 5.0ton/ha on 2019 minor season, that attained the project target (6.0ton/ha on Major season, 5.0 ton/ha on Minor season). Their average net profit has also increased to more than 2,000GHC/ha after training.
“Additionally, the Project trained 12 seed growers and the certified rice seed production by the growers increased from 55.9MT (10.7ha) in Major season 2017 to 116.8MT (20.0ha) in Major season 2019,” he said.
Mr Takahashi told the participant that as part of the Project’s Appropriate Cultivation Techniques, farmers were trained on the use of healthy certified seeds, optimum seed rates for direct sowing, variety specific spacing for transplanting, application of optimum amount of nitrogen fertilizer and efficient irrigation water use. They were also trained on record keeping and marketing.
The project helped produce six manuals including a Guideline on the Process for the establishment of Water Users Associations and a Manual for the Operation and Management of the Association. It is expected that these outcomes in KIS will spread to other schemes.
The Senior Representative of JICA in Ghana, Ms Maki OZAWA noted that for more than 30 years, JICA’s cooperation and support for irrigated agriculture in Ghana has enhanced the capacities of both farmers and managers of irrigation schemes across the country, especially at the Kpong Irrigation Scheme, KIS.
“JICA dedicated the last five years (28th January 2016 – 30th June, 2021) focusing on Market-Based Agriculture for Smallholders and establishing private sector linkages for them and other stakeholders in the value-chain,” she said.
In his contribution, the Project Manager for MASAPS-KIS, Joseph Nartey indicated that “many thanks to JICA, GIDA, the government and other partners, the Project for Enhancing Market-Based Agriculture by Smallholders and Private Sector Linkages in Kpong Irrigation Scheme (MASAPS-KIS) has achieved some tremendous feats.”
Since 1988, JICA has been supporting irrigated agriculture in Ghana. Between 1988 and 2004, JICA assisted in the establishment of the Irrigation Development Centre (IDC) and the development and dissemination of irrigated farming techniques in Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, and later created two model districts in Ashaiman and Okyereko, the Central region.
Between 2004 and 2006, JICA supported GIDA in its nationwide effort to create a sustainable agricultural practice based on the concept of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM).