For large-scale farmers, using local weather data and a smart irrigation system is a well-known method to enhance water efficiency. For many smallholders, however, this method is still unknown and difficult to access.

The pilot project SOSIA+, funded by Partners for Water, aims to change this. Its innovative and accessible climate-smart irrigation service is currently boosting small-scale farmers in Ghana.

The approach

Ghanaian farmers have highlighted the need for irrigation technologies suited to their local conditions and climate-smart practices. In response,  SOSIA+ created a smart irrigation service and are testing this service. The service aims to provide tailored advice to farmers by analysing weather data, both historical and real-time, to determine crop-specific irrigation needs.

The objectives

By addressing inefficient irrigation practices and minimising water wastage, this project aims to alleviate pressure on river basins, crucial for sustaining increased food production in Ghana, as well as to offer recommendations in terms of both volume and timing, particularly beneficial for small-scale farmers.

The team

The SOSIA+ consortium consists of TU Delft, Holland Green Tech, Future Water, and TAHMO. This combination of knowledge and business partners has proven highly effective, especially given their shared long-term goals.

TU Delft has maintained a longstanding presence in Ghana and remains committed to further engagement, leveraging existing partnerships with KNUST and Kwadaso. Holland Greentech already operates three local offices in Ghana and sees significant business opportunities in the horticulture sector.

How does the project affect water security

Ghana’s rapid population growth, particularly in cities like Accra and Kumasi, coupled with shifting climate patterns, is straining water and food security. Farmers in regions like Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Volta, where most vegetables are grown, face significant water wastage due to inefficient irrigation methods. For instance, tomato production alone consumes over 36 billion litres of water annually.

As Ghana aims to boost local food production and reduce import dependency, the demand for irrigation water in the horticulture sector is expected to rise further, exacerbating water scarcity issues exacerbated by longer droughts and reduced river basin availability. Therefore, this project seeks to develop and trial an innovative tool to significantly improve water security in Ghana.

This technology stands out because it provides highly localised information that is directly applicable to the farmer’s field

Frank Annor

TU Delft lecturer

Expected outcomes

The expected (measurable and concrete) end results upon realising the project will be:

  • More than 200 farmers in Ghana have actively used the tool
  • More than 4,000 farmers are aware of the tool and climate smart irrigation practice
  • More than 600 students/young farmers are educated in the field of climate smart irrigation
  • 25% less water that is used per monitored farmer
  • 15% of crop yield increase per monitored farmer
  • Exposure and interest from farmers outside of the Ashanti region, reaching more than 25,000 farmers in Ghana

Innovation in progress series

SOSIA+ features in the Partners for Water’s ongoing Innovation in Progress series. Throughout this series, Partners for Water closely follows a selection of projects that have received a Partners for Water subsidy, from start to finish. Over the next few years, these projects will take you with them on their journey of testing the feasibility or application of innovative solutions to enhance water security abroad. You’ll be able to gain insights into their processes, collaborations with local partners and their potential solutions; as well as their struggles, challenges and their lessons learned.

Follow the SOSIA+ journey: