The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) have organised a workshop for farmers and managers of public irrigation schemes to train them in Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM).
The workshop was to develop the capacity of GIDA staff and farmers in efficient scheme oversight and water management in response to the promulgation of Legislative Instrument (LI) 2230 in May, last year.
The LI enjoins farmers on public irrigation schemes to form Water User Association (WUA) under the supervision of GIDA for the operation, maintenance and management of the irrigation infrastructure and the efficient distribution of water to members within a defined service area.
Professor Leko Kakuta, a Lecturer of the Asia University in Japan, using JICA PIM project experience in the Philippines, said: “For the successful operation of the Water User Association, it’s imperative for farmers to institute measures such as collective monitoring to prevent the emergence of free-riders (those who use water but fail to pay for it).”
This, she said, was to ensure equity in the distribution of water thus preventing conflicts as she conducted a pilot survey of WUA at the Kpong Irrigation Scheme near Asutuare.
Dr Ben Vas Nyamadi, the Chief Executive of GIDA, expressed gratitude to the JICA for its support to the Authority to ensure the successful operation and maintenance of the irrigation schemes across the country.
He advised the staff of GIDA and farmers to take the training seriously as both parties have a collective responsibility in ensuring successful WUA and scheme oversight.
Since the late 20th century, JICA and GIDA have had a bilateral cooperation in developing the irrigation sub-sector, particularly in improving irrigation farming systems and farmers’ participation in irrigation management.
The GIDA would utilise the WUA training modules developed by JICA to train other associations in the remaining public irrigation schemes to enable them to efficiently use water for their activities as well as operate, maintain and manage the irrigation infrastructure.