Basyonde (UE) , Nov. 21, GNA - Farmers in Garu Tempane District of the Upper East Region have called on Government to rehabilitate the Abanga Dam, used for irrigation.
A farmer based association known as the “Abanga Dam Association” made the call at a Press Conference at Basyonde in the Garu-Tempane District on Tuesday.
The farmers said, “the current state of the dam is bad, apart from the breakdown of the wall of the dam, the canals, valves and spillway are also destroyed. Also due to the breakdown of the wall of the dam the reservoir is not able to hold water during rainy season”.
According to the Secretary of the Association, Mr Elisha Akudugu , the current state of the dam had compelled farmers to resort to various coping strategies, including dugouts and water from rivers to undertake their irrigation activities, which he noted was not easy for them.
He said the situation became worse when the 2007 floods that hit the Region affected the facility, damaging it and rendering the farmers out of business.
According to the Secretary, a research conducted by the Association on the facility with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund, it had been established that the major livelihood of the people in the area is farming, particularly dry season farming. He therefore indicated that if the facility was rehabilitated, it would help improve upon the livelihood of the farmers since majority of them engaged in cultivating crops such as onions , watermelon, tomato , pepper , garden eggs and lettuce to fend for themselves and their families.
Mr Haruna Aboyala , one of the farmers said when the dam was in good shape their animals could drink from that source and they could also fetch water from there to build their houses but they could not do that anymore.
Mr Seidu Apambil , a fish farmer, said: “ I used to fish from my fish pond at the facility and could sell to get enough money to pay for my children's school fees but I cannot do that now due to the bad state of the dam.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency the District Chief Executive for the area , Mr David Adakurugu, assured the farmers that the Assembly was doing everything possible to rehabilitate the dam.
He announced that it had already been advertised under the Ghana Social and Opportunity Project and very soon the process of rehabilitating the facility would commence.
Mr Ernest Beyuo Aayel , a service provider of BUSAC indicated that unlike the southern parts of the country where farmers could crop twice a year, in the Upper East Region it was not so and the farmers in the area only rely on irrigation facilities to support themselves.
He underscored the need for the government, particularly the various District Assemblies in the Upper East Region, to give serious attention to irrigation facilties in the Region by rehabilitating all of them to assist the farmers.
He indicated that the farmers' capacity building for advocacy and lobbying had been built under the BUSAC Fund including a research conducted on the irrigation facility and they were expected to undertake more advocacy and lobbying activities to effect a change.