Small Scale Irrigation Development in Upper West Region, Ghana; Challenges, Potentials and Solutions

Sixtus Segtub Dakpalah, Geophrey Kwaku Anornu, Eric Antwi Ofosu


Agriculture production is largely rain fed in Ghana and West Africa. Meanwhile the rainfall pattern in these arid and semi-arid areas is short and erratic. In the Upper West Region, rainfall starts in May and ends in October. Small-scale irrigation systems have been introduced to ensure food security in the region. Food insecurity and poverty are the major setbacks resulting in migration out of the region in search of other menial jobs during the dry season. The study was carried out in four districts, Wa West, Nadowli, Lambussie-Karni and Nandom with their respective schemes at Siru, Sankana, Karni and Kokoligu. The scope of the study was to assess the state of irrigation structures, identify challenges and potentials and propose ways to improve irrigation development in the region. It was ascertained that irrigation structures in the region are in a very deplorable state leading to inadequate water supply to farms. Although soil nutrient levels in the study area are low, the high clay contents compared to most soils from the region suggest a higher ability to hold available plant nutrients for plant growth. The study also found out that irrigation in the region lacked access to inputs and credit, ready markets, mechanized labor and extension services thus resulting in the poor performance of small-scale irrigation schemes. The study also identifies water and land as major potentials for production if reliable farmer support and the appropriate technologies are available. There is the need for major stakeholders such as farmers, government (MMDAs), policy makers, research institutions and non-governmental organizations to complement efforts to rehabilitate irrigation structures, facilitate input availability, easy access to credit and enhance extension services to boost the development of already existing schemes in the region.

Keywords: small scale irrigation, development, challenges, potentials, solutions

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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