By Godfred A. Polkuu, GNA
Bolgatanga, Sept. 12, GNA – Dr Sagre Bambangi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Annual Crops, has visited some farm lands in the Upper East Region to assess the impact of the flood caused by recent rains and spillage from the Bagre dam.
The Deputy Minister visited farmers at Doba, Bonia and Tono all in the Kassena–Nankana Municipality, Pwalugu in the Talensi District.
Dr Bambangi at each of the communities interacted with the farmers who expressed worry about the devastation on their food crops and used the opportunity to appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to come to their aid.
At Doba, Mr Edward Ajoba Binini, Landlord of the Gayiago and Agayia communities in the area, said “the extent of damage is serious, because rice farms were destroyed, beans destroyed, groundnuts planted along the riverside were all destroyed.”
He appealed to government to support them with boreholes and fence to help them farm during the dry season, because the flood has destroyed their crops.
Mr Binini said without the needed help the youth would be discouraged and perhaps migrate to southern Ghana.
Mr James Adawina, Chairman of the Tono Irrigation Cooperation Farmers Union, expressed gratitude to Dr Akoto Osei Afriyie, the Minister of Agriculture, for assisting them with fertilizer to improve on agricultural activities in the area and called on government to help them access loans from banks to support their efforts.
He attributed the current situation to late land preparation owing to lack of farm equipment, adding that if farmers in the area had the needed equipment, they would have started farming activities much earlier.
The situation was not different when Dr Bambangi and his team visited Pwalugu in the Talensi District where several acres of maize and groundnuts among other farms products were destroyed.
Mr Francis Ennor, the Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, said farm lands in all 15 Districts in the Region were flooded.
He said rice, beans, maize, groundnuts, millet, sorghum and cowpea were some of the crops destroyed, and from the nine Districts, an estimated area of 954.4 hectors of rice farms, 4598 hectors of maize, 490.4 hectors of sorghum, 212 hectors of millet farms, 791 hectors of groundnuts farms, 208 hectors of cowpea were completely destroyed by the flood.
Mr Ennor said 6, 226 farmers in 65 communities within the nine districts were affected as many of them farmed closer to river banks.
“They normally take the opportunity to plant early, so that by the time the floods come, they would have harvested. Unfortunately, this year’s the rains came heavily and the opening of the Bugre Dam affected them,” he said.
The Director said even though the destruction was massive, it would not affect food security in the region because about 40 percent of food crops were destroyed.
Addressing the press after his tour, Dr Bambangi, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Walewale Constituency, said apart from the reports the Ministry received from various Districts and Regional Directors of Agriculture, “we want to observe some of the fields for ourselves so that together with our technical men, we can submit relevant reports to the Honourable Minister for Food and Agriculture.”
He urged the farmers not to be discouraged and assured them of the Ministry’s support.