Rehabilitation works on the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation project is progressing steadily and almost 63 per cent complete.
The $35 million project, which is being funded by the World Bank, covers about 2,000 hectares of land.
It will have a digitised system to enable the project scheme managers to monitor the level of water in the supply canals and the quantity of water that farmers use for irrigation.
It is being implemented under the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and focused on enhancing more than 1,000 farmers to produce legumes, cereals and vegetables in large quantity for commercial purposes.
When completed, it will be the third-largest irrigation project in the country after the Tono Water project in the Upper East Region and the Kpong Irrigation Scheme Project.
During a press tour around the project recently, the Project Coordinator of the GCAP, Mr Osei Owusu-Agyemang, gave an assurance that the project would be fully completed in December, indicating that it was only left with 37 per cent of the work.
He indicated that when the project became operational, it would help boost agriculture, particularly cereal, legume and vegetable production in the country for local consumption and export.
“The completion of the irrigation scheme will imply farmers will no longer rely on rainfall for their agricultural activities. This provides a better climate change adaption given the global uncertainties in the rainfall pattern,” he said.
“After rehabilitation, the total area which is about 2,000 hectares will be cultivated twice yearly. This gives a cropping intensity of 200 per cent, thereby guaranteeing increased food security and income to the farmers,” he added.
Challenges with the current system
Mr Owusu-Agyemang explained that the current system, which was mechanical, didn’t have any installed technology to regulate the flow of water and also to calculate the amount of water the farmers were using; as a result, the farmers were being charged according to the number of hectares of land they were cultivating.
“A farmer may have about five hectares of land and will demand a lower amount of water, depending on the kind of crop he is cultivating. Other farmers may also have smaller farms and demand a large quantity of water, if this continues, a lot of farmers will be paying a lot of money for no reason,” he said.
“This new system will make the farmers know the amount of water they are using and how much they have to pay. This is efficient and it will ensure their money does not go to waste,” he added.
A Contract Management Specialist for GCAP, Mr Philip Daniel Laryea, said the project was also going to help generate jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers during the operation phase.
He indicated that about 600 skilled and unskilled labour would be employed at the peak of the construction phase. Additionally, he said, an estimated 12,000 direct jobs per year would be created when the project became operational.
He also said it would bring better remuneration to the rural folks and thereby enhance their living standards. “This is one of the surest ways to tackle extreme poverty in the area,” he added.
Government awarded $35 million for the rehabilitation and completion of the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project to Om Metals<\a>SPML JV, a joint venture of Om Metals Infraprojects Limited of India in 2018.
The work involves redesigning and construction in a modernised way to make it possible to control how much water is released to farmers who are expected to pay for the service to ensure sustainability.
Picture shows a Contract Management Specialist for GCAP, Mr Philip Daniel Laryea (with hands lifted) taking to journalists around the project