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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Upper East Farmers Appeal For Desilting Of Vea Dam Banks

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Farmers in the Upper East region have appealed to Government, to as a matter of urgency, de-silt the left and right banks canals of the Vea Irrigation Dam, as a stop-gap measure to enable the farmers crop for this coming dry season farming which begins this August.
They made the appeal when Radio Ghana undertook separate visits to the project communities to ascertain the deplorable nature of the irrigation facility.
More than 3,000 farmers of the Vea Irrigation facility in the Upper East Region have been thrown out of business as a result of the broken down and the siltation nature of the left and right banks canals and laterals that transport water from the reservoir for irrigation farming.
Eleven communities namely Vea, Nyariga, Bongo, Bolgatanga, Zaare, Dindubisi, Yikine, Gowrie, Yorogo, Yorogo-Gabisi and Sumbrungu  including other people outside the areas used to rely on the facility for farming particularly during the dry seasons to make a living but could not do so now due to the deplorable state of the facility.

When Radio Ghana visited the project sites it was realized that a considerable number of the canals and laterals that convey water from the dam to the farms have all virtually broken down and engulfed with weeds.
It will be recalled that since the construction of the Vea Irrigation Dam in the 1960s, it had never seen any major rehabilitation. This has resulted to the farmers’ inability to access water to irrigate their farms forcing majority of them to abandon their farms. The Irrigation area is zoned into low lands for rice farming and uplands for tomato farming, soya beans, cabbage, lettuce and pepper and other vegetables.
The farmers also used to grow millet and groundnuts including sorghum which is now in high demand for the brewing industries. The facility also has fish ponds.
Most of the farmers who are widows and the youth blamed the past and present governments for failing to rehabilitate the facility and stressed that the facility which was constructed by the first President of the republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is one of the major livelihoods of the people in the area and beyond and wondered why such an asset was left unattended to since its establishment.
The focal person of the Peasant Farmers Association in charge of the Upper East Region, Mr John Akaribo, said government’s policies of the Planting for food and Jobs PFJs and One District one Factory stand to receive a major boost if the Vea Irrigation project is revamped.

Story by: GBC’s Emmanuel Akayeti

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