The Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr Nura Gyeile, has stated that dams that are being constructed under the government’s One-Village, One-Dam (1V1D) initiative are for multipurpose use and not only for agriculture.
According to him, apart from using them for irrigation, the dams could also be used for construction works and domestic activities.
Currently, he said 437 out of 560 dams proposed to be built had been awarded on contract and were at various stages of execution.
Dr Gyeile made this known at a media briefing at the Jubilee House in Accra last Wednesday.
He explained that 15 of the small earth dams in the Northern Region alone could irrigate an area the size of 2,775 hectares.
He said 30 of the dams were about 50 per cent complete, with 69 of them also between 50 and 89 per cent executed, while 339 were between 90 and 100 per cent done.
In addition, he said 88 of the dams had their embankments built with stones and boulders.
Dr Gyeile was briefing the media to explain the government’s irrigation development strategy under the 1V1D programme as regards crop farming in the dry season and to also debunk a research conducted by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana that said about 90 per cent of dams constructed under the 1V1D initiative in the Upper East Region could not be used for irrigation purposes.
The research, which was led by Prof. Joseph Yaro of the Department of Geography at the University of Ghana and funded by OXFAM, also posited that there was poor consultation with other government agencies such as the district assemblies in the planning phase of the initiative, which led the assemblies to relax their supervision of the projects.
Dr Gyiele expressed his disappointment with the practice where people toured uncompleted dam sites and made unsavoury remarks for political gains, stressing that “the NPP’s initiative of 1V1D is an all-inclusive programme that will take care of providing villages, irrespective of their suitability, with a dam because the bottom line is to have something that can hold water”.
He, therefore, urged the public not to acknowledge the assertion that the dams were not of the right type. He said there were dams built by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the Ghana Social Opportunity Projects (GSOP) that had been washed away, which the government was working to rehabilitate.
Dr Gyeile said the 1V1D was conceived with the aim to provide the majority of rural people, many of whom were farmers, with water.
He said people were making disparaging statements about the dams because they only knew about gravity irrigation where a valve in the dam was opened for water to flow, but “we are now in the modern era of drip or precision irrigation, like what is being done with the 1V1D where water from a well is allowed to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface”.
He said the goal was to place water directly into the root zone and minimise evaporation, and that required only a small amount of water.
“So now we provide the farming communities with tanks and small reservoirs that they can fill and use for drip irrigation so the dams are very suitable,” he indicated.
Dr Gyeile said the government had in the last three and half years continued with the construction of the Tamen Dam at Garu in the Upper East Region, which would add 300 hectares to the lands under irrigation.
“We are also rehabilitating and expanding the Kpong Irrigation Project which will also cover 1,200 hectares of irrigable lands, and restoring the Tolon Irrigation Project in the Upper East Region to revamp crop irrigation in that part of the country,” he said.
Source: General News