The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to revamp the deteriorating Vea Irrigation Dam to boost agriculture activities and improve livelihoods.
The Vea irrigation facility constructed in 1965 has provided water supply for agriculture purposes to various communities including Vea, Nyariga, Bongo, Bolgatanga, Zaare, Dindubisi, Yikine, Gowrie, Yorogo, Yorogo-Gabisi and Sumbrungu.
It has also provided treated water for the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs for both domestic and industrial purposes.A visit to the facility by the Ghana News Agency revealed that the lack of rehabilitation works on the project has resulted in various siltation challenges in the right and left canals as well as the laterals that transport water from the dam reservoir to the various farms.
Due to the bad siltation nature of the dam it has thrown many farmers out of business particularly those who engage in dry season farming, as the farmers could no longer access water from the dam to continue their activities and improve on their livelihoods.
Mr John Akaribo, the Upper East Regional Focal Person of the PFAG, who made the appeal, said the facility has supported agricultural activities such as rice and tomato farming, soya beans, cabbage, lettuce and pepper and other vegetables as well as growing of millet, groundnuts, sorghum and fish farming.
He said due to the absence of will power and attention by successive governments to rehabilitate the project, about 4,000 farmers leaving near the Vea Irrigation Dam whose major source of livelihood was farming were out of business and facing life’s difficulties.
The Focal Person said a complete revamping of the Vea irrigation facility would help ensure government’s plans to construct one dam in each village in the three regions of the north as the dam covers wide area with several communities, adding that government would have constructed about eleven dams if it pays attention to strengthening the Vea Dam.
Mr Akaribo said that government flagship programme of Planting for Food and Jobs would only be realized in the area when government takes immediate steps to revamp the project and create more employment for people.
He said it would also provide raw materials to feed the factories that would be established under the One District One Factory and propel the industrialization agenda of the country.“It is unfortunate for us to import tomatoes from neigbouring Burkina Faso. Why should Ghana import tomatoes and onions from Burkina Faso? All these means that we need a conscious effort to ensure that this dam is put in place,” he said.
Mr Akaribo appealed to the Government to provide excavator machines to de-silt the left and right banks canals as a stop-gap measure to enable farmers to crop for the coming dry season.