GHANA IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT POLICY

It has been recognized, the world over, that any country that depends on agricultural production as basis for industrial development is most likely to fail if irrigation is not part of the agricultural development plan. Indeed in some parts of the world, irrigation remains the dividing line between abundant food and no food at all.

Given this, one finds it difficult to understand why Ghana has, since independence, been without a consistent and comprehensive policy to guide its irrigation development and expansion. Irrigation development has been dictated and affected by ad-hoc government agricultural strategies and programmes. Consequently, it became necessary for the development of a workable irrigation policy which is a pre-requisite for the realization and sustenance of agricultural development in Ghana.

The irrigation policy is the outcome of a consultative process, which began with a national forum on irrigation development and management in 2004. There were many stakeholder validation workshops to deliberate on findings and recommendations by teams of local and international consultants. The inputs of these workshops were consolidated in a final draft that was reviewed by the Irrigation Policy Project Steering Committee in May 2007. The first submission to Cabinet was in December 2007. Cabinet requested additional review by identified stakeholders after which the document was resubmitted in January 2008. After the election of December 2008, the irrigation policy document was again submitted to Cabinet in May 2010. On June 30th 2010, Cabinet approved the policy.

This policy addresses the problems, constraints and opportunities, which cut across the whole irrigation sub-sector; and specifically for informal, formal and commercial irrigation. It will be complemented with a strategic framework to be called National Irrigation Development Master Plan (NIDMAP) to specify how the strategies in this document will be implemented in order to put an area of 500,000ha under irrigation in the medium term.

It has been recognized, the world over, that any country that depends on agricultural production asbasis for industrial development is most likely to fail if irrigation is not part of the agriculturaldevelopment plan. Indeed in some parts of the world, irrigation remains the dividing line betweenabundant food and no food at all.Given this, one finds it difficult to understand why Ghana has, since independence, been without aconsistent and comprehensive policy to guide its irrigation development and expansion.

Irrigationdevelopment has been dictated and affected by ad-hoc government agricultural strategies andprogrammes. Consequently, it became necessary for the development of a workable irrigationpolicy which is a pre-requisite for the realization and sustenance of agricultural development inGhana.The irrigation policy is the outcome of a consultative process, which began with a national forum onirrigation development and management in 2004. There were many stakeholder validationworkshops to deliberate on findings and recommendations by teams of local and internationalconsultants. The inputs of these workshops were consolidated in a final draft that was reviewed bythe Irrigation Policy Project Steering Committee in May 2007. The first submission to Cabinet wasin December 2007.

Cabinet requested additional review by identified stakeholders after which thedocument was resubmitted in January 2008. After the election of December 2008, the irrigationpolicy document was again submitted to Cabinet in May 2010. On June 30th 2010, Cabinet approvedthe policy.This policy addresses the problems, constraints and opportunities, which cut across the wholeirrigation sub-sector; and specifically for informal, formal and commercial irrigation.It will be complemented with a strategic framework to be called National Irrigation DevelopmentMaster Plan (NIDMAP) to specify how the strategies in this document will be implemented in orderto put an area of 500,000ha under irrigation in the medium term.

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