By Joyce Bedeley:
An agricultural consultant, Mr. Shakespeare Djokoto has noted that though irrigation is critical to food production in the country and elsewhere, it cannot stand out as a reliable solution to the country’s agric sector.
This he attributed to the high cost of production which he said is far beyond what many farmers can afford. Mr. Dzokoto who made this known in an interview with Rite News revealed that irrigation increases the production cost of farmers, a situation which is beyond what most farmers can meet.
He made the assertion in reaction to the widely accepted perception including that of some agricultural experts that irrigation farming is the only way to food security in Ghana. According to him, experts must instead concentrate on unraveling and finding a lasting solution to what is preventing the falling of enough rains in the country and stop seeing irrigation as the solution.
But Mr. Djokoto blames this phenomenon on the practice of continuous deforestation in the Ghana. ‘For instance the Togo side of the Ghana / Togo border is full of thick forests while the opposite end which is the Ghana side is bedeviled with bare lands,’ Mr. Djokoto noted, adding that this results in comprehensive rainfall in Togo as well as along that belt in Ghana.
He advised that the country get enough buffer areas for more afforestation purposes to boost more rain and climate conditions since they form part of major factors for farming which is critical for agricultural production.
He therefore dismissed suggestions that irrigation is the surest bet to the challenges of low rainfall and increased production and called on the government to involve the private sector in its implementation if it still believes that it’s the most suitable option. He however cautioned that most communities may resist the practice of allowing farmers to tap their source of drinking water for crops especially during the dry season when most rivers are at their low levels.
Mr. Djokoto condemned the practice of setting up a lot of such irrigation projects in the Afram Plains in the Eastern region when similar areas with similar land features as the Afram Plains area can also be considered for such projects.
He blamed the lack of crop rotation skills, a practice that helps the soil to maintain it nutrients, among Ghanaian farmers as being responsible for most low yields.