Tono irrigation scheme, in the Upper East region of Ghana
The Tono scheme was established by the Ghana Government to promote the production of food crops by small scale farmers within an organized and managed irrigation scheme. It is located at Tono near Navrongo in the Upper East region of Ghana. It has a gross area of 3,860 ha with a potential irrigable area of 2,680 ha of which 2,490 ha has been developed. The source of water is the Tono River and the scheme is managed by the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR).
The scheme has supported the cultivation of rice, tomato, soyabeans, onions, pepper and other leafy vegetables but, currently, about 98% of the land is cultivated to rice. The scheme has a farmer population of 2,500 distributed across nine villages, with an average of 0.6 hectares per farmer. The length of the main canal in Tono is 42 km which makes the work of only three extension officers difficult. The scheme has gradually migrated from organizing farmers along the community level to Water Users Association (WUA) to enhance effective management, maintenance, and operation of the scheme.
Land levelling and low efficient use of water are the major problem of the irrigation scheme. Lack of ready market for the agricultural produce is a major challenge confronting farmers leading to a decline in the production of vegetables
The irrigation scheme is customary where women only have access to use the land and men own the land based on the patrilineal system of inheritance. The irrigation scheme is currently managed by the irrigation company of upper region (ICOUR) and the water users association (WUA). The average area under cultivation ranges between 0.25 to 2.5 acres. Soils are generally poor due to continuous cropping and depletion of soil nutrients with inadequate soil amendments. Rice is the most important crop that farmers produce under irrigation because of its suitability to the ecology and the income that it generates. The majority of farmers cultivate AGRA with some farmers also producing Gbewa rice/Jasmine 85. Rice yield ranges from 500 kg to 2,200 kg per acre. Farmers generally broadcast one to two bags of NPK as base fertilizer and then top dress with one to two bags of urea. Some farmers have adopted row transplanting, third application of inorganic fertilizer, and urea dip. The cropping calendar begins in December and end in May. Water supply occurs twice in a week at the beginning of the season and reduced to once a week at the end of the season. About 60% and more of the harvested rice is sold to aggregators
Site 1: Bonia Zone A lowland
The field is at the up-stream of the main gravity canal. The trial plot size is about 0.1 hectares. Soil is silty loam. Source of water is from lateral A/M13 and irrigation is by flooding. Seven varieties of rice are demonstrated on the plot.
Site 2 : Chuchuliga Zone P lowland
The plot is on the mid-stream of left bank canal. The trial plot size is about 0.1 hectares. Soil is clayey loam. Source of water is from lateral P/R12 and irrigation is by flooding. Seven varieties of rice are demonstrated on the plot.
Site 3: Chuchuliga Zone T lowland
The plot is on the downstream of the left bank canal. The trial plot size is about 0.1 hectares. Soil is silty loam. Source of water is from lateral T/R29 through a ditch and field irrigated by flooding. Seven varieties of rice are demonstrated on the plot.
Site 4: Gaani Zone K lowland
The plot No. K/61 is at the lateral of K/S1-M34 on the mid-stream of the left bank canal. The plot has a total area of 0.95 hectares but only 0.1 ha is earmarked for the trial. Two varieties were tried under six different moisture management strategies. Soil is sandy loam. Source of water is from lateral K/M34 through a ditch and field is irrigated by flooding.
Site 5: Biu Zone S upland
The plot No. S/72 is at lateral S/S1-M49 on the down-stream of the left bank canal. The plot has a total area of 1.35 hectares but only 0.1 ha was used for the trial. Two varieties were tried under six different moisture management strategies. Soil is sandy clay. Irrigation is done by flooding through a ditch.