Most parts of Northern Ghana and in sub Saharan Africa suffer the effects of climate change (flooding, waterlogging and drought). The impact of this continuous to affect productivity of poor smallholder farmers. In Ghana for example, most farmers produce less than 1/3 of the actual potential, a limiting factor being access to water. While most farmlands experience waterlogging/flooding during the rainy season, these lands become totally dry with no access to water during the lean season. Farmers’ plight is recognized at two levels (1) excess water during the rainy season making the land less usable (2) limited water during the dry season, and thus farmers are unable to crop their lands. The ideal solution for farmers is an innovative technology that can transform farmers’ plight to an opportunity.
The PAVE Irrigation Technology is a water conservation technology that captures excess water from rainfall or floods, filters and injects into the aquifer and unsaturated fractures to be stored storage for dry season cropping. The PAVE technology provides a unique opportunity where farmers will have at least 2 season cropping, and thus improve land productivity by at least 70 percent. The technology also supports cropping under rain fed conditions especially in times where rainfall is short, and thus provides supplementary irrigation. The PAVE technology (unlike other underground water storage technologies) has special features to ensure the purification of flood water, before it is injected underground. This include the specially designed carbonization procedures aimed at enhancing the quality of water. Thus, it ensures the safety of ground water.
An essential and unique aspect of technology is the communal approach for its introduction, adoption and usage. Target farmers and relevant groups within project area are engaged to validate the information obtained. Community education and public awareness activities are conducted using technical diagrams and video documentaries to explain the technology to the target communities. Additionally, famer field days are organized to explain the technological process of the technology on selected farmlands. This approach provides target farmer a better understanding of the technology for easy adoption. In consultation with community leaders, suitable sites are then selected for the installation of the technology.
construction stage of the pave technology
Materials for the installation of PAVE are locally made and can be obtained anywhere in the world. Installation begins with drilling which involves creating vertical holes underground using a borehole drilling machine. PAVE pipes are arranged according to the soil strata identified during the drilling process. A filtration system is created around the installed to purify the water injected underground. Water lifting and distributing system such as solar or motorized pumps are installed to provide water for agriculture. The technology is continuously monitored with the use of the monitoring protocol to track success.
Using the community level innovators approach, innovators are identified and trained on the use of the technology. Local artisans like masons, plumbers are trained on the installation as well as maintenance of the technology. This approach ensures the localization of technology knowledge. A community led process is used to develop and implement a management plan for the technology.
The PAVE technology has successfully been implemented in several communities of Northern Ghana located within the following districts/municipal assemblies; Savelugu Nanton, Tolon-Kumbungu, Talensi, Karaga and the West Mamprusi districts to assist smallholder farmers improve water conservation and increase crop yields. The adoption of the technology by farmers has led to the installation of over 10 PAVEs on farmer fields. Beneficiary farmers can now undertake dry season which can last for about 5-7 months.
ImpactsThe PAVE technology provides the following benefits;
Food security and improved nutrition for rural households.
Improved incomes for poor smallholder farming communities
Reduced rural-urban migration
Gender economic empowerment
Reduce pressure on riparian are