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Smallholder Irrigation Technology Diffusion In Ghana: Insights From Stakeholder Mapping

Irrigated agriculture can support food and nutrition security, increase rural employment and incomes and can act as a buffer against growing climate variability and change. However, irrigation development has been slow in Africa south of the Sahara and Ghana is no exception. Out of a total potential irrigated area of close to 2 million ha, less than 20,000 ha large-scale irrigation and less than 200,000 ha of small-scale irrigation have been developed; but the latter is only an estimate. To identify entry points for accelerating small-scale irrigation development in Ghana, a national and a regional stakeholder Net-Map workshop were held in Accra and Tamale, respectively. The workshops suggest that a wide variety of actors from government, the private sector, international organizations and funders, research organizations and NGOs are involved in the diffusion of small-scale irrigation technologies. However, there are important differences between actors perceived to be key at the national and at the regional levels in northern Ghana. At the national level, diffusion of small-scale irrigation technologies is considered to be largely influenced by the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority together with a series of private sector actors focused on importation, distribution and financing of technologies. Farmers are considered to have no influence over the diffusion of small-scale irrigation, suggesting that small-scale irrigation is largely considered a supply-driven process. In northern Ghana, on the other hand, farmers are considered to be key influencers, although participants noted that much of this was potential influence, together with a larger and more diversified set of government stakeholders that are seen as regulators and possibly gatekeepers. For irrigation diffusion to successfully move from importation to distribution to benefiting smallholder farmers, all of these actors have to come together to better understand farmers’ needs and challenges. A multi-stakeholder platform could help to increase communication between farmers as the ultimate beneficiaries of small-scale irrigation technologies and the many other actors interested in supporting this process.