The French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union (EU) signed a 44.7 million euro grant agreement with the Ghanaian government. The funding will allow for the construction and rehabilitation of 35 irrigation schemes in the north of the country in response to the drought.
The grant agreement was signed on 31 March 2022 between Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister of Finance, AFD Country Director Christophe Cottet and Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships. The 44.7-million-euro financing will be used to implement the Agricultural Water Management Project (AWMP) in Ghana. Some €39.7 million is allocated by the EU and €5 million by AFD.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) are implementing the project. The aim is to improve the water supply of 6 000 small-scale farmers in the north of the country through the construction and rehabilitation of 35 irrigation systems. These will enable a shift from rain-fed to irrigated agriculture, in response to the drought.
Reducing food insecurity
The future systems will cover an area of 1,000 hectares. Of these, 15 will be supplied by earth dams, nine by water pumped from the Volta Noire River and 11 systems by boreholes. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Gida will also provide 1,300 hectares of irrigated land for smallholders in northern Ghana. The future irrigation infrastructure will be managed by Water User Associations (WUAs), under the supervision of Gida.
In addition to the development of environmentally friendly agriculture, “this project will allow year-round production and guarantee food security for all,” says Anne-Sophie Avé, the French ambassador to Ghana. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), in 2020, 21,000 people suffered from food insecurity in the West African country, particularly in the north where 90% of households depend on agriculture for their livelihood. According to the organisation, this is due to the fact that the region has only one rainy season, unlike the south, which has two. The AWMP project will also create employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.