The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has warned that Ghana may experience shortage of foodstuff if pragmatic measures are not taken to develop irrigation farms due to changes in the weather pattern.
A large part of Ghana’s agriculture sector depends on rainfall, but recent reports indicate a shortage of common staple which hitherto was in abundant supply, except in lean seasons.
Cassava and plantain for instance are reported to be in short supply causing the price of cassava to increase to about 8 cedis for three small tubers.
Speaking to Citi Business News in an interview, the General Secretary of GAWU, Mr. Edward Kareweh ,who expressed worry over the development stated that ,the country can no longer depend on the few irrigation farms in the three regions up north due to the fast change in the weather pattern.
“Depending on nature to a large extent could be disadvantageous and that is why every effort is made to control nature. We ought to have done a massive irrigation across the country. In the past we thought that irrigation was for the north only, we cannot think like that anymore,” he warned.
He maintained that there is a need for policy makers to shift the position that irrigation is only required in the north since the effect of the weather changes is already having a devastating effect on plantation agriculture.
“Now that the vagaries of the weather are depleting our stock and the volume of food produced in the country, we believe that our drive for a nationwide irrigation policy to help avert future food shortage for our country would be implemented,” he said.
Pointing to a shift in policy, Mr. Kareweh stated that the type of irrigation advocated by GAWU is different from what is currently practiced in the country which leads to flooding.
He disclosed that there are new technologies that provide efficient use of water for crop production.
“We could use a more efficient and effective means of irrigating our crops through drifting, instead of flooding our farm, and then the excess water goes to waste,” he said.
He was optimistic that Ghana could increase its crop production substantially if adequate attention is given to irrigation across the whole country.