|Farmers attending their livestock in Northern |
Ghana (2012) by Ericsson Images / Flickr
SPRU, University of Sussex
Earlier this month, a number of Members of the Ghanaian Parliament presented a statement to the House calling for large investment in irrigation systems throughout Ghana. They advocate the use of irrigation for crop production as the “only way” to ensure national food security. The statement proposes that irrigation would be particularly beneficial for semi-arid Northern Ghana by enabling year-round crop production in a region which only has one wet season and currently depends predominantly on rain-fed agriculture.
The desire to take steps towards more food security in Northern Ghana is understandable. Six percent of the land area of Ghana is currently under irrigation, mostly drawn from small dam and reservoir systems, but in the three regions of Northern Ghana this figure is just 0.6 percent. Over 80 percent of households in Northern Ghana depend on agriculture as their main livelihood, making the population vulnerable to climatic shocks.