Mr Francis Ennor, the Upper East Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has called for a special focus on irrigation as a key component in food production and food security in the region.
He said though the country was endowed with water resources, a potential for irrigation, it was under used and called on the youth in the region to go into irrigation framing to improve nutrition and income levels.
Mr Ennor made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at his office in Bolgatanga.
He said when the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, people concentrated more on food stock piling and protection of the little food they could buy, but that was not the best and the country needed to find ways to increase food production.
He said the region had a poor rainfall pattern last year coupled with floods and the COVID- 19 scare which affected production and created price hikes.
He noted that overreliance on rain fed agriculture could have its challenges and said "If you rely on nature and nature fails you, what do you do? When flood comes, nobody looks for cars, buildings and any property, except food and as a nation our attention on irrigation farming need to be stepped up".
He mentioned challenges such as the land tenure system and credit facilities which discouraged young people from venturing into agriculture and also served as a major hindrance to agricultural expansion.
He praised the government's flagship programme for fertilizer and seeds subsidy and urged land owners to give out more cultivable land and help the youth who show interest in farming.
He reiterated his outfit's efforts to help improve marketing of agricultural produce and indicated that a platform of aggregators and processors were created under the auspices of the regional directorate of MoFA, with the aim of helping stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to access markets for their produce and increase networking.
Meanwhile the Ghana Irrigation Policy's goal is to achieve sustainable growth and enhance performance of irrigation contribution to fulfil the goal of modernizing the Agricultural sector.