Socio-economic evaluation of some irrigation projects on the southern banks of the Afram River in South Kwahu District: a case study of the Kwahu Amanfrom Catholic Cooperative Irrigation Project

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One of the fundamental policy objectives that were supposed to guide the implementation of the Volta River Project was that no one should be made worse off by the creation of the Volta Lake. It is understandable, therefore, that efforts were made, as part of the resettlement scheme, to introduce the settler-farmers to mechanised and scientific farming. It was perceived that this would be a means for increasing their farm productivity, and. hence their economic and social well-being. For several reasons, resettlement agriculture failed. The settlers were left to contend with a destroyed ecology, drought, declining crop yields and less than one-half of the farmlands promised. The South Afram area was soon declared a drought-disaster zone; emergency food rations were rushed there. Families emigrated. In order to overcome these difficulties the farmers of Kwahu Amanfrom, one of the resettlement townships in the South Afram area, have since 1982 embarked on cooperative irrigation farming to produce tomatoes. The Volta River Authority, which introduced irrigation farming in the town, abandoned its pilot irrigation scheme in 1983. Since then individuals, small groups of farmers and cooperatives in the area have taken up tomato production under sprinkler irrigation culture. However, these irrigation farmers face problems of poor marketing, inadequate access to inputs and. lack of institutional support services, among others. This study evaluates the operations and. performance of one cooperative irrigation project (the Kwahu Amanfrom Catholic Cooperative Irrigation Project) in order to assess its problems and potentials, its economic viability and financial feasibility. This project, established with assistance from the Catholic Relief Services, is the premier community-based self-help, small-scale sprinkler irrigation cooperative project in 0-hana,. It has influenced the emergence of a number of such cooperatives in the South Afram area. The study provides a basis for improving the performance of such ventures in the area. Specifically, the study assesses the economic and social effects of the Kwahu Amanfrom Catholic Cooperative Irrigation Project. Cost-benefit analysis using discounted cash flow measures were employed in the economic and financial evaluation; while the social evaluation was done by means of goal-achievementt measures. The results indicate that the operations and performance of the Kwahu Amanfrom Catholic Irrigation project is sub-optimal. The major bottlenecks hindering a more efficient performance are: poor marketing due to the bad road access to the area; and lack of institutional support services, such as input supply and credit. The study also shows that small-scale sprinkler irrigation farming for producing tomatoes in Kwahu Amanfrom area is a. viable venture and that it could be financed by bank credit.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1988