Board Members tasked to revamp Ghana Irrigation Development Authority

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Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has charged Board Members of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) to reposition the Authority as a model on the African continent.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

He told the Board that: “This [irrigation] is one area that I want you to consider, and to reposition GIDA in a way that will make it the star of African irrigation projects.”

The Minister said this was because the Authority, which was one of the oldest institutions in the country, had assets, including buildings and machinery, which when utilised well, would ensure adequate irrigation systems for sustainable agriculture.

He said this on Wednesday, during the swearing-in of the appointed 11-member GIDA Board in Accra, and the inauguration of the nine-member Governing Board of the National Seed Council.

Mr Akoto said: “The huge assets that have been mismanaged and abandoned, if we were to bring all these back to life, GIDA will be one of the richest state organisations, and it beholds you as the board to ensure that these rehabilitated projects are well maintained and managed.”

He added that: “Therefore, I appeal to you to come up with a proposal to me as to how you are going to ensure that the supervision of the work is according to plan, as a way for me to monitor the usage of the new facility for which we have gone to borrow a huge amount of money from World Bank and other organisations.”

Dr Akoto told the Board that: “Now, we have the sources of water to be able to do two to three crops a year and not wait for eight months for the rains especially in the Northern sector, but they can even have three crops and vegetables and other high value crops.”

He therefore asked the Board to justify the US$105 million that the Government had invested in irrigation in the last four years, by ensuring that the production of crops was of world standards and did not rely on rain.

Mr Osei Owusu Agyemang, Chairman of the Board of GIDA, thanked the President for reposing confidence in them, and pledged that the members would harness their experiences to make the Authority contribute to Ghana’s transformation.

He said: “We intend to showcase the Authority’s capabilities, potential and relevance to the rest of the world through fairs as well as joint business relationships with relevant public and private sector organisations.”

For the Seed Council, the Minister asked them to use the academic and institutional research conducted to support the productivity of smallholder agriculture farmers in the country.

He noted that though the country depended on its neighbouring countries for improved seed, the Ministry had worked to change the narrative through the diligence of local producers.

He said: “We had to rely on our neighbouring countries like Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria to supplement the little that we had. In 2017, we were able to distribute 4,400 metric tonnes of improved seeds. Last year [2021], we did nearly 40,000 metric tonnes of improved seeds, most of which have been produced by seed growers in Ghana.”

Dr Akoto then said: “As a Seed Council, your immediate duty is to ensure that this substantial growth in the supply of improved seed continues at even a faster rate,” and underscored that the seed was the driving force of the Planting for Food and Jobs.

Mr Josiah Wobil, Chairman of the Seed Council, thanked the President for their appointment, and pledged that they would word hard to achieve the goals of the Council.

By Francis Ntow/Edward Dankwah

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