Agricultural activities by smallholder farmers in the Northern part of the country have been challenged by water scarcity due to frequent droughts and increasing dry spells.
In response to these climatic conditions irrigation and agricultural water management have been proven as the way forward and adopted by farmers to improving food security and livelihoods of vulnerable farmers especially in the dry season.
It is proven to be a strategy for strengthening resilience of rural farmers through dry season farming.
However, dry season farming is bedeviled with challenges most importantly is non-availability of water for irrigation purposes.
For farmers, farming along River Yinyung, in neighbouring Togo and the Black Volta in the Nakpanduri district, availability of water for irrigational activities is hampering productivity since they cannot farm in large quantities for economic gains.
The situation is compelling the youth to migrate to others areas to do menial jobs while others also engage in social vices.
It is for his reason that traditional authorities in the catchment areas have pledged to use their position to ensure dry season farming for the teaming youth.
To this end, they are calling on the government under its planting for food and jobs and one village one dam policies to drench the rivers and harvest excess water during the raining season for use in the off season to guarantee all year round farming for improved food security.
Dry season farming has become an important component in the country’s agricultural systems.
Up to 80 percent of the population of Northern Ghana is farmers and they mostly depend on vulnerable rained agricultural.
Due to strong seasonality of rainfall in the area, rained farming is limited to only five to six months of the year.
So what do farmers do during the other six months of the year? While some take up other livelihoods or seek temporary employment elsewhere, others continue to grow food through the dry season.
Along the River Yinyung, a tributary of the Black Volta in the Nakpanduri district, vegetables such as green pepper, pepper, onions, tomatoes, okro, water melon, green leaves and carrots.
However, like the same old problem farmers face, vegetable farmers here are battling with a myriad of problems ranging from availability of water, pumping machines, fertilizers, post harvest loses and poor storage and sales of produce.
During a field visit by the chief of kpikpira, Naba Danzuur and his elders, it was observed that large hectares of arable lands have been deserted due to these challenges.
The farmers explained that farming activities in the off season was not attractive anymore and if authorities and for that matter government do not intervene, it will affect food security and will deepen the poverty level of the people of the area.
The farmers complained bitterly about the activities of cattle herdsmen, which according to him, was destroying their hard earned investment.
The Chief of Kpikpira, Naba Danzur, said it was important that the government through the various district assembly’s together with the government of Togo priorities irrigation faming for the betterment of the people especially the youth.
This, according to him, the situation has compelled the youth to migrate to others areas to do menial jobs while others also engage in social vices.
Naba Danzuur said the availability of water, pumping machines, fertilizers, post harvest loses and poor storage and sales of produce were some of the pressing challenges that needed critical attention.
The Chief called on the government and investors to come to the aid of farmers for sustained economic gains and improved livelihoods. He also promised to address the issue of animals invading farmlands
Story by Joyce Kantam Kolamong