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Overview Background Solutions Documents

Agriculture contributes about 37% of GDP in Ghana and employs 56% of the economically active population. Approximately 2.74 million households are involved in farming, and smallholder farms account for about 80% of the total agricultural output.

Only about 38% of agricultural land is cultivated and productivity is generally low but estimates of Ghana’s irrigation potential range from 0.36 to 2.9 million ha.

The country faces significant variability in water resources, both spatially and temporally, therefore multiple options will be required and constraints must be overcome if they are to reach millions of people.

Existing AWM
Several forms of AWM exist in Ghana including private irrigation (emerging systems initiated by entrepreneurs) and conventional systems (usually communal surface irrigation initiated and managed by government or NGOs).
Madhya Pradesh
West Bengal
Shallow groundwater irrigation using hand-dug wells, mainly for vegetables.
    Seasonal shallow wells, usually in low-lying areas.
    Permanent shallow wells, used throughout the year for vegetables, livestock and domestic purposes.
    Shallow tube wells.
    Communal borehole irrigation (pilot projects).
    River and stream lifting systems – commercial and “outgrower” schemes.
    Small reservoirs and dugouts – private and communal.
    Inland valley water capture systems, using bunds, for paddy and sometimes dry season vegetables.
    River diversions and river pumping to gravity fed irrigation systems.
    Reservoir-based gravity-fed irrigation systems.
    Surface water pumping and sprinkler irrigation.
Constraints to Groundwater Irrigation and Emerging Systems
Land tenure insecurity, which discourages farmers from digging wells; frequent failure and restrictive irrigation schedules in communal systems; inadequate storage facilities and markets; pests and diseases; limited access to inputs, including water lifting technologies and affordable well-drilling; inadequate technical knowledge for proper O&M; the cost of fuel and electricity to run pumps; high labor demand; lack of credit facilities; poor AWM extension services.
Constraints to Conventional Irrigation Schemes
Siltation; lack of equipment and funds to develop the whole potential area; long distance between farmland and water source or storage unit; poor infrastructure (either from the outset or due to inadequate O&M); limited crop storage; lack of credit; and disputes between livestock owners and farmers over land.

Livelihoods maps were used in the project to identify where people would benefit most from AWM interventions. These maps are based on the following principles:

    Different contexts create different needs and require different types of AWM and other investments.
    Different livelihood groups have different needs.
    Water is more important to some livelihoods than others.
How were the maps created?
They are based on areas where rural people share relatively homogeneous living conditions. The main criteria:
    The predominant source of income (livelihood activities).
    The natural resources available to people and the way they are used.
    The prevailing agroclimatic conditions that influence farming activities.
Livelihood zones (LZ) were combined with other data to produce maps of potential investment for AWM. High potential areas are identified on the basis of:
  Where water is physically available (without water AWM is impossible).
  Where the target beneficiaries are mostly located based on rural population density and poverty rate.
  Where people perceive water as limiting factor for agricultural production and livelihoods i.e. the extent to which livelihoods depend on secure access to sufficient water and where lack of water is a major constraint for rural populations.
These maps show where AWM can be the entry point for improving livelihoods and where to prioritize investments in AWM to have the highest number of beneficiaries.

Project Country Contacts

  Technologies   Name
  Country Coordinator and Project Contact Point   Regassa Namara
  International Water Management Institute - Ghana

  National Focal Point   Ben Nyamadi
  Ghana Irrigation Development Authority - Ghana

  National Dialogue Facilitator   Saa Dittoh
  University for Development Studies -Ghana

  Project Ambassador for West Africa   Amadou Allahoury Diallo
  Agricultural Water Management Senior Expert
  Conseiller Special du Président de la République du Niger

If you are working on similar issues and would like to discuss them with the project team please contact the project secretariat at: