The Government of Ghana has in collaboration with the World Bank, re-developed three major irrigation sites to suit all types of crops. One of such sites is the Kpong Left Bank at Torgome in the North Tongu district of the Volta region. Here, like all the others, agricultural operations would be fended all-year round with water, to obviate the harsh effects of climate change.
Now with access to one of the most essential ingredients in crop farming, the Torgome area looks like the nectar biblically described as the land flowing with milk and honey. An advert for prospectors was over-subscribed but 14 of those agri-businesses were selected. The first to start operations on the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation is a French company which is cultivating banana on approximately one-fifth of the 2,500 hectares of the serviced plots. The additional works had doubled cultivable lands.
The French company which speedily moved to the site is aware of the potentials. It is set to mark 20th anniversary of similar operations on irrigated lands on the Kpong Right Bank. Its sole interest is banana farming on commercial scale for export to Europe. On the left bank, newly planted crop seedlings are expected to gestate in 8 months. The Cameroonian farm manager, Jean-Marie Tchonang names labour and the painstaking agronomy associated with banana cultivation as the main challenges, but that which stands to be overshadowed by the rush on the produce once they hit the international market.
Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto says, the amount of money sunk in the irrigation project is 34 million dollars, thus stakeholders must attach importance to it through cooperation and participation.
He invited the Traditional ruler (Mankralor), Torgbui Gidi to meet with him for further discussion on how best the local population may be integrated in the project.
French investors, Messrs Benjamin Rich and Olivier Chassang, are not looking back on this mission on account of the country’s political stability and fertile lands. It is projected that the new site could offer 600 jobs, adding up to the existing 3,500 on the right bank. 100,000 tons of banana are expected to be lifted in annual banana exports. The Banana Exporter guarantees use of its export terminal at the Tema harbour by other food produce exporters, for good turnaround time and as a cost-cutting measure.
Adding his voice, the Coordinator of the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, GCAP, Mr Osei Owusu Agyemang said, if what you are seeing and hearing whets your appetite, it is time for you as a Ghanaian to brace up for the opportunity and become worthy partakers. He said, agriculture is a very serious venture that requires that significant operators are given prestigious titles on the label “Ghanaian Farmer” as pertains in South Africa, Zimbabwe and other places. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, he told Ghanaians.
Cameroon and Cote D’Ivoire are the other locations of French Banana farms in Africa.
By Napoleon Ato Kittoe