Agric-Led Transformation of NSEZ
SADA Earmarks 127 Dams
In order to create an enabling environment for all-year round commercial agriculture to thrive successfully in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ), the key role position to be played by irrigation has been given great prominence in the Agricultural Master Plan for the Zone prepared by the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA),noted its Chief Executive Officer ,Charles Abugri
Mr.Abugri in a presentation during the Technical Consultative Workshop of the Transformation of the African Savannah Initiative (TASI) Ghana Pilot project launch in Accra last week disclosed that, SADA has already identified and mapped out Twenty three (23) large and medium-sized dam sites for large scale irrigation schemes (> 4,000 ha) and one hundred and four (104) small dam sites for small and medium irrigation schemes (400 ha > 4,000 ha).
The unique selling points of the NSEZ Mr.Abugre said, comprises, 100,000 ha of potential irrigable land in medium and small scale irrigation schemes with 600,000 ha of potential irrigable land in large scale irrigation schemes.
Large tracts of arable land flat and fit for mechanization with 8 million ha in all suitable land for rain-fed and irrigated agriculture, livestock, forestry and aquaculture
Abundance of surface and underground water resources –approx. 40 billionm³ per annum, most of which is un-used, huge regional potential market within the Ecowas (340 million people)the Volta lake waterway currently under development for large scale water transportation to key markets in the south at the crossroads of major sea routes, close to the world’s main markets
In talking about transforming the NSEZ through agriculture, Mr.Abugre notes that, the context is that it accounts for 14 percent of Ghana’s GDP and about 25 percent of the country’s population with an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent .It has an exceedingly youthful population whereby 60 percent are below 25 years.
SADA’s Vision for NSEZ
Mr.Abugre passionate about changing the North-South development and poverty gap narrative, moving forward, envisions the NSEZ as a green economic hub of Ghana and Gateway to Sahel, vibrant and resilient middle income economy, harmonious and smart economy, clean liveable and sustainable economic environment
Agribusiness Related Vision
The NSEZ’s vision of success towards 2040 according to Mr.Abugre would be premised on a thriving middle income economy at the heart of the African savannah, integrated water resources management interventions to provide for flood control, power, irrigation, fisheries and aquaculture development.
Intensification of agriculture through double/triple cropping supported primarily by irrigation and climate-smart agriculture practices (conservation agriculture, no till, agroforestry, crop-livestock-forestry integration, etc.),
Scale and agglomeration for Industrial development through the value chain approach, promoting downstream processing of grains, cereals and oilseeds into poultry, fish, beef, other food and fibre products, agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, forestry and agro-processing as the economic pillars to sustain job creation for the youth and overall economic transformation.
SADA taking cognizance of the energy needs of both primary agricultural production and agro-processing operations has also mapped out for execution 553 MW of potential hydropower installed capacity in excess of Bui 2,276 GWh Potential additional power productions
In order to maximize gains from the NSEZ’s numerous geographic opportunities, Mr.Abugre said they need to be positioned in an integrated manner for effective economic management viz, selective agricultural production, processing/manufacturing for domestic and export markets, tourism, mining, services such as extension, finance,logistics,trade,etc
Touching on Ecowas in 2040 from which NSEZ tends to derive great benefits, he underscored the fact that Ghana has a sizable market within Ecowas more so in the new world of advanced technology information and open market economies.
Ecowas population he noted was estimated to double from 355 to 700 million with a GDP per capita estimated to rise from around USD1, 000 to USD 4000-6000 with regional business expected to increase in volume and intensity.
Mr. Abugre took cognizance of the rising middle income class estimated to be 12 million people in Ghana and its immediate neighbouring countries coupled with her geostrategic location, stable political environment and open society,
This, he noted is expected to play to Ghana’s maximum economic advantage as she can facilitate trade with Ecowas, East Asia and the EU, Mr.Abugre noted.
NSEZ Regional Positioning
Moving forward he noted, the NSEZ would be positioned to be the food basket for Ghana supplying over 25 million people, be the gateway to Burkina Faso(Ouagadougou)and Sahel, offering the shortest link to coastal port(Tema and Takoradi) and shortest link from river/lake port (Bupe) .
Furthermore, NSEZ would offer a shopping destination for Burkina Faso and people of Northern Ivory Coast and Togo thus, putting on the table, cheaper options for imported goods.
It would also be a “weekend destination for Southern Ghana”adding,”NSEZ has to become a productive economic basin for domestic and regional markets
the nsez agricultural masterplan –key role to be played by irrigation
23 large and medium-sized dam sites for large scale irrigation schemes (> 4,000 ha)
553 MW of potential hydropower installed capacity in excess of Bui
2,276 GWh Potential additional power productions
104 small dam sites for small and medium irrigation schemes (400 ha > 4,000 ha)
100,000 ha of potential irrigable land in medium and small scale irrigation schemes
600,000 ha of potential irrigable land in large scale irrigation schemes
8 million ha of suitable land for rain-fed and irrigated agriculture, livestock, forestry and aquaculture
Report: Mohammed Abu, ADM, Ghana