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A 12-MEMBER Board of Directors for the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) was inaugurated in Accra yesterday. The board is expected to lead the process of restructuring and modernization of both the irrigation subsector and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority within the next two years. It is also expected to tackle the issue of high electricity tariffs that both public and private irrigation farmers have to contend with, deal with encroachment of government lands, high cost of irrigation equipment, irrigation and groundwater development project and crop production in protected environment. Members Chaired by Mallam Issah Seidu, a farmer, other members of the board include Mr. Richmond Evans Appiah from the Volta River Authority (VRA), Mr. Awua Peasah from the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Kwame Amezah from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Professor Marcarius Yangyuoru of the University of Ghana and Mr. Evans Balaara, from the Ghana Water Company (GWC) Limited. The rest are Dr. Joseph Opoku-Fening from the Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Osmund Ansa Asare of the Water Research Institute of CSIR, Dr. Ben Vas Nyamadi from GIDA, Mr. Stephen Baba, from Kumasi, representing irrigation farmers in the Northern sector, Mr. George Kporye representing irrigation farmers in the southern sector and Mr. Shaibu Mahama of the Office of the President. Board cannot fail The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Fifi Kwetey who swore in the members, said the structural transformation and growth of the irrigation sub-sector would result in a lean and more efficient GIDA. In addition, he said the restructuring and modernization was expected to also generate revenue and ensure sustenance of the various irrigation schemes while freeing public funds for other developmental activities. “It is also expected to provide the investment climate for public-private partnerships and improve external funding and private sector support which are urgently need to maintain and expand the irrigated agriculture sub-sector in the country”, he said. Mr. Kwetey expressed the hope that the board would live up to its task. “While agreeing that these tasks are rather herculean, they are not beyond the capability of the board members and it is precisely for this reason that you were selected to constitute the board”, he stated. Establish units The Chairman of the board, Mallam Seidu said it would endeavour to execute its mandate to the best of its abilities. He said the board would discuss the formation of a functional market extension and information unit to undertake both local and foreign market demand studies in conjunction with the relevant MoFA departments and the other municipal and district assemblies (MDAs). About GIDA GIDA, since its inception in 1964, has been primarily responsible for feasibility studies for the development of irrigation projects, technology transfer to consumers of irrigation services, management and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. The Authority also undertakes services in civil engineering, water management, construction supervision, stock water and aquaculture services to generate revenue to support annual its budget.