Government to rehabilitate old irrigation dams in Volta Region
Accra, June 22, GNA - Mr. Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture on Wednesday said the Irrigation Development Authority is sourcing funds to rehabilitate in phases the existing but aged irrigation dams in Volta Region to enhance poverty alleviation and improve income of the rural people. He said the government is desirous of empowering the rural population and has planned to rehabilitate most of the dams built in the Volta Region since the 1960s. It has also taken inventory of almost all the dams in each district including the Tedeafenui-Dekpe dam in the North Tongu District.
Mr. Debrah was answering a question by Mr. Joe Gidisu, NDC MP for Central Tongu, who wanted to know what the Ministry is doing to rehabilitate the Tedeafenui-Dekpe dam. The Minister said the Tedeafenui-Dekpe dam is one of a number of dams and dugouts in the Volta Region constructed by then Irrigation Department in the early 60s and was used for rice cultivation until 1966 when it was abandoned after the coup and the Russians who were managing it left the country. He said most of the facilities including the workshop, offices and the irrigation system were vandalised and design drawings were also burnt and that for past 20 years the system has either deteriorated or completely damaged.
On the Chebichebi Irrigation Dam in the Nanton constituency in the Northern Region which has been at a standstill for sometime now, Mr. Debrah said evaluation is currently in progress and it is expected that a competent consultant would be selected to implement the project by the end of 2005. He said the consultant would then assist the District Assembly to prepare a tender document for the selection of a qualified contractor to complete the dam construction.
The Minister said the delay on the project was as a result of the termination of contract of the former contractor for the fundamental breach of contract and non-performance. Mr. David Tetteh Assumeng, NDC MP for Shai Osudoku also asked the Minister of plans to assist rice farmers on the Kpong Irrigation Project.
Dr. Debrah said various intervention aimed at assisting rice farmers have been introduced, including equipment to repair, maintain canals and land preparation. He said a programme to repair old tractors for the use by the farmers as well as two drying floors out of seven have been completed. The Minister said the Kpong Irrigation Project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which was sourced by the Ministry has a credit improvement for rice farmers and that the Ministry is assisting the rice growers to make life less hazardous for them. 22 June 05