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International Water Management Institute, Ghana Irrigation Development Authority sign agreement on sustainable water management

IWMI Regional Representative, Dr. Olufunke Cofie looking on as GIDA and IWMI sign MOU.

By Joyce Gyekye

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to build the capacity of farmers to manage water and ensure Ghana harnesses all her water resources effectively.

The agreement, which is for five years, has become necessary for the drying up of water resources due to climate change and, in some cases, mismanagement of water through bad farming practices.

At the signing ceremony in Accra, the West African Regional Representative of IWMI, Dr. Olufunke Cofie, said the overall outcome of the MoU is to provide evidence on water availability, its accessibility, and tools, among others, for decision-making to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers.

IWMI Regional Representative, Dr. Olufunke Cofie, Director General, IWMI, Dr. Mark Smith in group Photo with key stakeholders.

She made reference to the northern part of Ghana, where farmers cultivate once a year.

“They don’t have two rainy seasons as we have down south, and there is the need to improve their incomes by helping them with innovations, technologies and practices that they can draw on water.”

Dr. Olufunke Cofie attributed some rural-urban migration, especially from the northern to the southern sector among the youth, to drought.

The Acting CEO of GIDA, Richard Oppong Boateng, said farmers will be trained on climate-smart technologies to conserve water, like what pertains at the Goog Irrigation Scheme in the Upper East region through IWMI, and his institution has resulted in good water management practices involving 100 smallholder farmers with the introduction of Chameleon Soil Moisture Sensors. 

He said the training and capacity-building component of the MoU will help farmers “to limit water usage and still have high production and, through climate-smart technologies, be able to conserve water in reservoirs for two years, even if it doesn’t rain for a year or more”.

The Acting GIBA boss said the Authority currently manages 180 irrigation schemes and has the vision of developing the available water resources and irrigation potential of about 1.9 million hectares for livelihood options in agriculture at appropriate scales for smallholder and commercial farmers throughout the country.

The Director General of IWMI, Dr. Mark Smith, expressed optimism that the partnership would drive change, influence policy, and bring investment with impacts on the ground to make a difference in the lives of people. He said this will be done through monitoring and evaluation, which are designed into the project.


Chameleon Soil Moisture Sensor is an instrument which measures water level and moisture content of soil to help farmers know when to irrigate.


IWMI is a non-profit research and development organisation dedicated to providing practical solutions to a range of water management problems through the application of state-of-the art management tools. It is one of 15 international research centers supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations, and international organisations known as the Consortium Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), with offices across Asia and Africa. Its West Africa office is in Ghana.

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