A new irrigation technology to boost farming and optimise crop production was unveiled in Accra yesterday.
The drip irrigation and sprinkler system, which was developed by Interplast Limited, is the first to be introduced in West Africa.
Interplast is the largest manufacturer of unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (UPVC) pipes and high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes in West Africa.
Located in Accra, the company exports to more than 21 West and Central African countries.
The new system, known as Ingreen irrigation solution, helps to significantly reduce water usage and improves crop quality and yields, as it provides precise amounts of water and fertiliser to the root of crops.
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The locally produced Ingreen irrigation solution is expected to cut down the cost of expenditure on farm inputs, as farmers have had to depend on expensive imported systems.
Interplast Limited opened the new irrigation production line to the public and took some ministers of state and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector on a tour of the facility in Accra.
In his welcome address, the Managing Director, Mr Hayssam Fakhry, said the company had over the years placed high premium on continuous investment, training and research in the development of its products and solutions with the aim to satisfy its customers’ specific needs.
“We are firm believers that this region is destined to excel in agriculture. We have also seen rapid evolution of the agricultural sector here in Ghana over the last few years.... And what other better way to express our agreement and contribution to this timely and noble plan than to use our strength and resources to develop what would help the nation to achieve this goal?” he said.
Explaining the benefits of the new irrigation system, Mr Fakhry said because the drip irrigation applied water to the roots of the plants, “it ensures that very little water is lost through evaporation and the low flow of water allows large areas to be watered.”
The drip irrigation technology comes in varieties, from a simple system which the farmer connects to water, to an advanced one where irrigation managers can operate multiple irrigation systems from office and receive automatically generated reports and alerts on their mobile phones or tablets.
To ensure efficient use of the system, Interplast Limited also provides solutions for irrigation systems for small, medium and large farms with drip or sprinkler systems, in addition to a wide range of complementary products.
The ultimate goal of Interplast, Mr Fakhry said, was to become a one-stop shop for farmers, where farmers could be assisted throughout the year.
“The Ingreen Drip System, is what the agriculture sector has been waiting for to become an all-year-round productive sector.
It will augment the government’s One Village, One Dam initiative and boost farming output from year to year and for all seasons,” he said.
Speaking before the tour of the facility, the Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, commended Interplast Limited for developing the Ingreen Drip System to further modernise the agricultural sector.
He announced that the government would soon provide funding for 1,200 entrepreneurs, and that 56 per cent of the beneficiaries would be selected from the agricultural sector.
Dr Awal added that the government would continue to create the enabling environment for businesses such as Interplast Limited to grow and encouraged the company to partner the government in its plan to roll out a school entrepreneurship project, to ensure that graduates who leave school start their own businesses.
In a keynote address, the Minster of State in charge of Food and Agriculture, Dr Gyiele Nurah, expressed optimistism that the system would dramatically improve productivity and increase the income of farmers.
“The One Village, One Dam project, which is to provide villages in the Northern Region with dams and dug out water supplies, will ensure a year-round farming and the introduction of the Ingreen Drip System is timely to make the project achieve its goal,” he said.
For agriculture to take its leading position in the economy, Mr Nurah said there would be the need to have improved seeds, better transportation, storage facilities, among others and urged local and international investors to venture into such areas and assured them of incentives.
The acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), Mr Wilson Darkwah, commended Interplast for developing the Ingreen Drip System and urged the company to partner GIDA through training, to optimise the use of drip irrigation in Ghana.