Assessing Small Scale Irrigation Development in Upper West Region

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May, 2016
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The development of Small-Scale Irrigation Schemes in Upper West Region has a great potential of increasing food security and reducing poverty at household levels especially in the rural communities. Despite the considerable irrigation potential of the region, there is still drudgery in cultivating more acreage at some irrigation sites. The study which was conducted in four districts comprising Wa West, Nadowli, Lambussie-Karni and Nandom with their respective schemes at Siru, Sankana, Karni and Kokoligu sought to assess the state of irrigation structures, examine the land suitability of the cropping area, identify the challenges and potentials in these irrigation systems and finally to propose solutions to improve small-scale irrigation development in the region. This was done through field assessment and soil analysis of the schemes. Questionnaires were also administered and analyzed to draw conclusions. It was observed that irrigation structures are in a very deplorable state leading to inadequate water supply to farmers. Analysis of soil samples indicates a low level of soil nutrients in the study area. The study also found out that irrigation in the region lacked access to inputs and credit, markets, mechanized labour and extension services thus resulting in the poor output of small-scale irrigation schemes. The study also noted the availability of water and land resources for vegetable and cereal production if reliable farmer support and the appropriate technology are given. There is the need for major stakeholders such as the central government and District Assemblies (DAs), NGOs, farmers, institutions such as GIDA, MOFA, CSIR-SARI and other development partners to complement efforts to improve the performance of small-scale irrigation schemes in the region. There is also the need to rehabilitate irrigation structures, form vibrant WUAs and farmers groups, facilitate inputs availability, easy access to credit and enhance extension service to boost the performance of existing schemes in the region. It is envisaged that irrigation in the region will be given the necessary attention from all major stakeholders to enhance the development of small-scale irrigation schemes.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Water Resources Engineering and Management.