The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) has disclosed that the government has not secured funding for the rehabilitation of the Vea Irrigation Project in the Bongo District.
It said government was looking at various options to secure funding support to have the project comprehensively rehabilitated to serve both agricultural and industrial purposes to improve on livelihoods.
The Vea Irrigation project, constructed in1965 in the Upper East Region has not witnessed any major rehabilitation leading to the broken down of most of the canals and laterals that carry water to the various farms.
The dam, since its inception has supplied water to several communities including Vea, Bongo, Nyariga, Yorogo, Yorogo-Gabisi, Dindubisi, Bolgatanga, Zaare, Yikene, Gowrie, and Sumbrungu as well as provide treated water to the entire Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs.
As a result of the bad siltation and deteriorating nature of the dam, it has thrown about 4,000 farmers out of business, particularly those who engage in dry season farming, as the famers could no longer access water from the dam to continue their farming activities and improve on their livelihoods.
It is recalled however that in 2015, government secured funding from the World Bank to rehabilitate about four dams including the Vea Dam, but nothing has been done in terms of rehabilitation work.
Earlier this year, the farmers were given assurance of possible rehabilitation works to begin and the situation compelled many farmers not to farm during the raining season due to the fear that their crops would be destroyed when the rehabilitation works start.
This has led to the farmers expressing their frustrations and disappointments at government’s inability to honour its promises.
Speaking to the farmers and chiefs at Vea on reasons for the delay in the rehabilitation of the project, Mr Bloomfield Crosby Attipoe, the Northern Zonal Coordinator of GCAP, explained that it was planned that works on the Vea and Tono Irrigation projects would commence concurrently but the situation has not turned out well as expected.
He disclosed that after designing the four projects and the cost of each project estimated, it was realized that the World Bank money could not support the rehabilitation of all the projects.
He added that after careful consideration, the money was channelled to work on other projects, whilst government sourced alternative resources for the Vea Irrigation project.
The Zonal Coordinator stated that the Vea Irrigation project was a national project and added that government was committed to seeing that the project was fully rehabilitated to improve on agriculture production and standards of living in the area and the country as a whole.
He asked the people to exercise patience, while government worked around the clock to secure funding for the project, and gave the assurance to the farmers that their request to the office of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR) to de-silt the canals to ensure dry season farming this year would be done this October.
The farmers gave October 15 ultimatum to GCAP to commence work to de-silt the Vea Dam, otherwise they as farmers would not take GCAP and government promises to rehabilitate the project seriously.
If the ultimatum is not met, we would look for options to seek redress, the farmers added.