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Overview Background Solutions Documents
In Ghana, the project team looked at several different AWM options: Inland valleys, shallow groundwater, motorised pumps, small reservors and outgrower schemes.
Inland Valleys
Vast areas of Ghana’s inland valleys are currently not under cultivation. Could introducing rice production bring much needed profitability to smallholder farmers?

The Opportunity
Inland valleys are low-lying areas, including valley bottoms and floodplains, receiving runoff from hills and mountains. Through the use of water capture and delivery structures the systems provide supplemental irrigation and improve soil moisture retention. In Ghana the potential area for inland valley rice production has been estimated at 28,000 – 2,000,000 ha.

The Government has shown an interest in revitalizing its domestic rice sector to meet growing demand, reduce imports and contribute to poverty reduction and youth employment. Inland valleys are a possible low cost, high potential option.

The research found that there is potential to increase inland valley cultivation but farmers face several challenges including high labor requirements, low rice yields because of poor agronomic practices, low profitability, limited access to technologies and insufficient financing options.

Madhya Pradesh
West Bengal
Improve water management.
    Ensure the tenure security through proper tenancy agreements.
    Improve agronomic recommendations.
    Institute affordable, long-term financing mechanisms.
    Improve post-harvest handling.
    Improve the land management capability of the farmers .
    Assess environmental consequences of scaling up inland valley farming.
  Manual threshing which results in post harvest losses   Reduce labor requirements through agronomic practices and the introduction of improved technologies  
Shallow Groundwater
Using shallow groundwater for irrigation could help smallholder farmers make a profit. Tapping this potential requires greater knowledge about groundwater availability, improved policy and strategic support, and specialized extension services.
The Opportunity
Agriculture accounts for just 5% of the groundwater currently used in Ghana. This could be increased significantly with better information and policy support. The cost of developing shallow groundwater (SGW) for irrigation is relatively low, and farmers can achieve good returns for vegetable crops such as tomatoes and peppers. However, there is no specific policy on groundwater use in Ghana.
Type of SGW irrigation used by the farmers surveyed:
32% of the farmers interviewed use groundwater.
    More farmers use buckets than anything else.
    Groundwater use is greatest in Volta region and AWM technologies are more varied. Electric pumps are only used in this region.
  Average investment costs of SGW Irrigation
  Costs in GH¢   Riverine Seasonal   In-field Seasonal   Permanent
  Lined   Unlined
  Mean depth (m)   5.6   5.9   12.2   10.4
  Labor: drilling & lining (days/m)   0.94   0.94   4.2   4.3
  Labor costs @ 2 GH¢/day   10.5   36.6   4.2   89.4
  Total material costs   18.9   39.2   41.8   23.9
  Total construction costs   29.4   23.0   144.5   113.4
  Cost of lifting device   131.4   3.0   5.5   6.8
  Total investment (GH¢)   160.8   26.0   150.0   120.0
Improve knowledge of groundwater availability and use.
    Develop easily accessible and interpretable groundwater maps.
    Formulate an explicit groundwater irrigation policy and strategy.
    Provide specialist extension services that cover specific groundwater irrigation issues and related agronomic information e.g. types of crops to grow, irrigation schedules.
    Align the country’s rural energy policy to the special needs of groundwater irrigated agriculture.
    Provide agronomic and on-farm water management research support.
Potential Impact
There is a lower incidence of poverty amongst farmers who access SGW compared to those who rely on rainfall and the survey data suggests that access to SGW may help reduce poverty. Using SGW creates jobs, particularly for the young during the dry season which in turn reduces‘distress migration’.

In terms of rural development, the total value addition of SGW irrigation is estimated to be US$1.2 million over a period of just 3 to 4 months.

Motorised Pumps
Making motorized pumps more affordable and easily available would dramatically improve the productivity of famers in Ghana’s poorest areas.
The Opportunity
In 2008 there were around 1.85 million farm households in Ghana with an estimated average of 1.44 ha of potential irrigable land per household.

There were nearly 170,000 petrol/diesel pumps and 5,000 electric pumps were in use in Ghana in 2009. If each of these pumps was owned by a separate household, just 12% of farming households would be pump owners.

Many households use water lifting technologiesto grow vegetables in the dry season. Farmers using motor pumps grow significantly more vegetables than bucket users. Dry season yields are higher for pump users.They also grow lucrative vegetables in the wet season.

The research identified the current conditions, trends and constraints around pump use.
Farmers using water lifting technologies are more likely to be younger or better educated. Pump owners are more likely to be men (women tend to be better represented in access to public irrigation systems, perhaps due to government intervention).Farmers with land holdings of all sizes are benefiting from motorized pump use.

Most inputs are available reasonably near farms but pumps are not. Many buy their motorized pumps from outside Ghana and many farmers rent rather than buy pumps. Pump imports for agricultural use are exempt from certain taxes. Total tax is just 3% instead of 18.5%. However the process of getting the exemption is lengthy and benefits may not reach the farmer.

Constraints include lack of finance options, the unreliability of water sources, and the high cost of labor.

Improve the supply chain of pumps by drafting registries of existing importers, dealers, and retailers, and potential after sales service providers.
    Institute a product quality assurance system.
    Incorporate basic technical training on small motorized pumps into the agricultural syllabus of schools.
    Prepare a training manual for use by dealers, retailers, extension professionals, maintenance service providers and farmers.
    Help farmers get the most out of their pumps by offering training on pump selection and maintenance, crop selection and agronomic practices, the handling of crops after harvest and the marketing of produce.
    Communicate the benefits of water lifting technologies through policy briefs, farmers’ field days and mass media.
    Provide access to affordable loans on reasonable terms or improve financing mechanisms
  At a 50% adoption rate:  
  An estimated 730,000 households (5% of rural households) could benefit from motor pumps.
  The area covered would be 565,000 ha (7.3% of the agricultural land).
Small Reservoirs
For investors in small reservoirs, the challenge lies in coordinating and integrating multiple users and social groups around a common resource. Limiting costs through improved procedures and financial management is also critical.
The Opportunity
Small reservoirs support soil and water conservation, drought proofing and small-scale community irrigation. A well-designed reservoir can sustain multiple uses including livestock, fisheries, domestic needs and small businesses. They are in high demand among local communities, fit with national strategies and policies, and attract funding from international development agencies.

Maximizing the benefits
Storing surface water is an expensive way to invest in AWM but it is sometimes the only way to grant rural communities access to water. The high costs often arise from mishandling projects. If well managed, costs are comparable to investments in other types of interventions.
The investment costs for small reservoirs can be prevented from rising by improving procedures. Accurate feasibility studies, proper preparation and stricter accountability to decision-makers, funders and local communities can all control costs and improve the outcome.

Benefits are even greater if multiple uses, existing farming systems, water recharge and direct pumping are taken into account. Investments in irrigation extension and monitoring are also needed.

To be successful, the approach should provide multiple organizational options to communities, and promote coordination with traditional and other authorities.

Coordinate and integrate multiple users spatially (around the small reservoir/watershed) and temporally (along the project cycle).
    Facilitate multiple institutional arrangements.
    Strengthen existing policies, procedures and links within organizations.
    Introduce a step-wise approach to assess feasibility and needs when planning rehabilitation or new construction.
    Establish pre-qualification of contractors and increased attention to award of contracts.
    Develop guidelines for contractors on the design of multiple-use reservoirs.
    Build capacity for extension workers, especially regarding multiple-use systems and social aspects.
Outgrower Schemes
Multinational agribusinesses and large supermarket chains are increasingly making use of outgrowers to secure their supplies. Donors are also showing interest, offering support for establishing schemes and associated farmers’ organizations. But is this a suitable model to improve access to water and incomes for poor men and women farmers? 

The Opportunity
Outgrower schemes provide a guaranteed market for smallholder farmers’ produce and many offer participating farmers access to water, irrigation technologies, inputs, and extension. In return, the smallholder agrees to sell their produce to the company at a fixed rate, often minus a percentage to cover the cost of inputs and services provided by the company.

A guaranteed market for produce.
    Access to inputs, including water and credit.
    Access to modern technologies and innovations including high-tech irrigation solutions, such as drip, center pivot, and pump houses,which would otherwise be unaffordable.
    Information on improved farming techniques and production standards.
    Risk minimization through pooling of resources and cost sharing.
    Access to machinery or services for harvesting, land preparation, planting and pest control.
Farmers’ opinions on the effectiveness of outgrower schemes on various aspects of their lives
For outgrower schemes to benefit smallholder farmers some challenges need to be addressed.

Trust: If the smallholder is not market savvy and the company is unscrupulous, the smallholder can be disadvantaged.

Information: Smallholders lack access to market information and may have limited power to negotiate with contracting companies.

Costs and Incentives: Dealing with a large number of smallholders in isolated areas means higher transaction costs for the company.

Potential Impact
While outgrower schemes do contribute to smallholders’ livelihoods, they are unlikely to reach the poorest farmers unless special measures are taken.

Schemes tend to self-select better-off male farmers but examples show that women can successfully participate, particularly when they receive support from donors or NGOs.