The Agriculture Water Management Project, worth $49.1 million, was signed by the Ghanaian government, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the European Union (EU). The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) will undertake the project, which seeks to promote green and inclusive growth, reduce inequities, and improve Ghana’s food security.
The ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Finance, saw the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, and the AFD Country Director, Christophe Cottet, exchange signatures. Jutta Urpilainen, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, and Anne-Sophie Avé, the French Ambassador to Ghana, signed the agreement together. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture, and Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, were also present.
The signatories to the Agriculture Water Management Project (AWMP) have pledged to work together to promote irrigation in Northern Ghana, where agriculture employs 85 percent of the population. Irrigation system construction is critical for increasing yields in the targeted Upper West, Savannah, and North East regions. More than 6,000 smallholder farmers will benefit from an additional and stable source of income. These farmers now rely on unreliable rain-fed agriculture and are becoming increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic weather events like droughts and floods.
AFD will manage the European Union ($43.6 million) and French ($5.5 million) funding, with the MoFA and GIDA as implementing partners. On the Black Volta River, it will fund the renovation and construction of 15 dams, 11 boreholes, and 9 pumping stations, as well as 1300 hectares of irrigated perimeters. The initiative will encourage farmers to switch from rain-fed to irrigated agriculture, as well as support Water Users Associations in running irrigation schemes and increasing GIDA’s capacity to oversee them.
The AWMP is part of a $145 million European Union-Ministry of Food and Agriculture cooperation to assist agriculture in northern Ghana (EU-Ghana Agriculture Programme–EUGAP). The program’s main goals are to improve the quality of life of communities that rely on agriculture for the majority of their income and to grow agriculture as a long-term enterprise.
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“The initiative we’re signing today will help smallholder farmers make their yields more predictable and enhance their income,” says Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships. It is a bold and significant investment that would improve the socio-economic development of northern Ghana’s regions, which is critical for the country’s development and stability.”
Agriculture is an investment in the future, according to Anne Sophie Avé, France’s Ambassador to Ghana. “Humans will always require food, regardless of how advanced technology becomes or how profoundly the world changes.” Planting for food and jobs, yes, but also for peace and security, and for sustainability: this project will result in improved jobs and revenues, environmentally friendly agriculture, year-round production, and food security for everyone.”
The AWMP is congruent with the Government of Ghana’s aims, according to Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, because it addresses the fundamental difficulties faced by smallholder farmers and farming systems in Ghana’s northern regions. Because it will raise productivity, alleviate food insecurity issues, improve farmer income, and promote poverty eradication, the initiative will be a big boost for their Planting-For-Food and Jobs Programme.