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Regional News of Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Source: GNA

Weija Irrigation Scheme benefits from FAO grant

Weija Irrigation Scheme is to benefit from an Emergency Response Grant from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to construct underground pipes and cover canals to avoid perennial flooding of farms as well as prevent the blocking of the canals by deposition of silts.

The open nature of the canals allows deposition of silts from the Weija Mountain to block it and thereby depriving farmers of water for irrigation.

Ashiaman Irrigation Scheme and private farms within the Accra metropolis will also benefit from the grant, which aimed at restoring production capacity of affected farms as well as rehabilitating Weija irrigation Scheme.

Mr Faizal Adams, National Project Coordinator, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview when a team comprising MOFA, NADMO, FAO and Ghana Irrigation Development Authority visited the area for rapid assessment of the irrigation scheme.

He said early September, FAO regional Office in Accra presented a grant of 500,000 dollars to the Government of Ghana to support farmers who were affected by the June 3, 2015 flood disaster in Accra.

The grant is under its Emergency Corporate Social Support programme for the restoration of productive capacities of Agricultural Households of affected farmers.

Mr Kwesi Asare Mintah, Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Department of Ghana Irrigation Authority, said the money has been approved and work will start soon after the technical reports were presented.

He said the grant apart from assisting them with infrastructure it would also give them approved seeds, agro-chemicals and other agriculture inputs to cut down farmers’ cost of operation.

He said any time it rained because the canal had no depths to collect the rainfall as a result of silting of drains and choking of the culverts, it overflowed to the farms.

“The farmers have to use communal labour and hire excavators to collect the silt any time it rains and this is making cost of production very high,” he said.

Mr Mintah explained that they have to impose levies on the farmers to be able to hire the excavator because all irrigation fees go in to payment of electricity bills, maintenance of pumps, desilting of the canal, among others.

The scheme currently has 220 hectares of land out of which 25 hectares are rain-fed. During the Accra floods about 80 per cent of the land got flooded, he added.

Mr Bright K. Demordzi, Member of Parl;iament for Bortianor/Ngleshie Amanfro Constituency, commended the FAO for the support which, he said would benefit the farmers, create more jobs in the agriculture sector as well as improve standard of living in the Constituency.

The FAO grant will be used to restore farming activities of 2,200 small holder farmers cultivating over 2,800 Ha of vegetables, rice and maize in the Accra metropolis and its environs. It will also be used to rehabilitate and restore production operation of the Weija Irrigation Scheme for the reparation of broken canals and reservoirs.

Additionally, the grant would also be used in building the capacities of the farmers in relation to climate change adaptation strategies.

The project duration is scheduled from August 2015 to July 2016.

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