Irrigation farming must be encouraged to supplement rain-fed agriculture

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irrigation
irrigation

Dr George Y. Mahama, an agronomist, has said there is the need for government to improve irrigation farming to supplement the current rain-fed agriculture and help reduce the impact of climate change.

Climate change, in recent years, has triggered consistent concern globally, with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 being dedicated to the fight the rising warning climate conditions and its impact on humans and the environment.

Agriculture is the backbone of Ghana’s economy and contributes significantly to the national Gross Domestic Product.

About 70 per cent of the population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture – fisheries, crop and animal farming – and forestry sector for both timber and non-timber forest products.

Dr Mahama, who works at the Wa station of Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI), in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said “any anomaly in the climate tends to affect the economy, particularly the vulnerable”.

He attributed the continuous climate change to unbridled human activities including the destruction of forests as well as irregular rainfall pattern which affects soil nutrients and soil water for plant growth.

Over reliance on rain-fed agriculture, Dr Mahama said, posed a serious threat to food security since farmers would not be able to determine the appropriate time to plant their crops to maximize rainfall which impact negatively on productivity and crop yield.

“Based on a 20-year baseline climate observation, it is forecasted that maize production and other cereal crop yields will reduce by 7 per cent by 2050,” he said.

He advised seed growers to develop draught and flood resistant varieties for farmers to counter the adverse effect of climate conditions and erratic rainfall pattern.

He also called on stakeholders including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to train more Agriculture Extension Officers on new farming technologies to enhance support for farmers and help raise productivity.

The government is implementing Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme in an effort to boost the agricultural sector.

However, the negative impact of climate change could hamper the success of the programme, according to researchers, if the necessary steps were not taken to mitigate its impact.

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