The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) Wednesday commissioned a GH¢2.7 million (USD 462,000) irrigation system and packhouse for vegetable farmers at Michel Camp in the Kpone Katamanso Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
This is to ensure reliable water supply for all-year-round vegetable cultivation, improve quality, and enhance postharvest handling and sorting packaging, as well as to facilitate access to the market to improve their incomes.
The project, which commenced in 2019, includes the rehabilitation and modernization of some irrigation infrastructure, construction of an infield reservoir, a solar-powered irrigation pump, a vegetable packhouse for cleaning and packaging of vegetable produce, and a washroom.
It falls under the Ghana Peri-Urban Vegetable Value Chain Project (GPVVCP), funded by a GH¢16, 530,000 (USD 2.85 million) grant from Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) and managed by the World Bank (WB) through a Trust Fund arrangement.
The GPVVCP, which commenced in 2017, seeks to improve productivity and access to markets by beneficiary vegetable farmers in selected peri-urban communities, as well as improve the agronomic practices of smallholder vegetable farmers, to complete MOFA’s Planting for Food and Jobs and Planting for Exports and Rural Development programmes.
Commissioning the project at Michel Camp on behalf of Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of MoFA, Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Horticulture, said a number of farmers had been linked to eight Production Partnership Entrepreneurs (PPES) including A B Farm Ventures, Akuafo TV and Investments Limited, Farm Direct, Fruit masters as off-takers.
He said farmers, in the coming days, would also be trained by Agriculture Extension Officers to enable them to address challenges relating to pests, agronomy, and harvesting.
He lauded the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the military and farmers that had ensured the smooth operation of the scheme.
“This model developed here is expected to be rolled out subsequently for the management of other public smallholder and community schemes,” he said.
Mr. Nyarko also commended the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) and the World Bank for providing funding support for the implementation of the project.
Mr. Osei Owusu Agyemang, the Project Coordinator, Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) said as part of the Ministry’s Climate-smart Agriculture practices, the Project had planted 1,200 trees to restore the micro-climate of the area to ensure environmental sustainability.
He said a Business Manager has been appointed to manage the interface between the farmers, the PPEs, and other stakeholders, to minimize the challenges of mistrust and misinformation which had plagued the sector over the years.
“An Advisory Board would be set up to provide guidance to the Michel Camp Irrigation Scheme and would be made up of representatives from the Ghana Armed Forces, Kpone Katamanso Municipal Assembly, the Michel Camp Farmers Association, MOFA, and the PPEs.
“These sustainability interventions are seen as a novel for such irrigation schemes and is expected to be replicated in similar Irrigation Schemes in the country,” Mr. Agyemang explained.
Dr. Sheu Salau, Task Team Leader from the World Bank, tasked GCAP, and partners to ensure proper maintenance of the facilities to prolong the lifespan.
Dr. Salau also called on the MoFA to provide regular technical support and training for the farmers to enable them to adopt and use modern farming practices to improve productivity.
The GPVVCP is also being implemented in three other districts; Angorsikope in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra Region, Hikpo in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, and Asokwa in the Asokwa Municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The project is being implemented by MoFA through GCAP, the Directorate of Crop Services and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA).GNA