Government, on Wednesday, refuted claims by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana that 90 percent of dams under ‘ One-Village, One-Dam’ initiative cannot be used for irrigation purposes.
Dr Nurah Gyiele, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, responding to the claims at a news conference in Accra, said out of the 560 dams the NPP government promised, 437 of them were at various stages of completion.
Of the number, 339 were between 90 and 100 per cent complete, 69 were between 50 and 89 per cent complete and 30 were up to 50 per cent complete, while 88 were completed and entrapped with boulders to fortify them.
Dr Gyiele explained that the small earth dams could perform multipurpose functions, which aside crop irrigation, could be used for livestock, domestic and construction purposes. The Minister said the government was implementing a holistic plan to allow farmers and households access water all-year round.
He said the dams had three components of infrastructure namely; small earth dams for water storage, livestock and crop production, small irrigation dams where streams run with valleys and large-scale dams such as Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, which has the capacity to irrigate 24,000 hectares of land upon completion.
“No government has, since independence, brought us much land water irrigation in Ghana” Dr Gyiele said, adding that about 33,000 hectares of land could be irrigated upon completion of the dams.
He said the 15 small earth dams under construction could irrigate 2,775 hectares of land upon completion.
Responding to the claims that government failed to undertake broad stakeholder consultation at the planning phase of the project, the Minister said that assertion was false, arguing that, government, through the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority of the Ministry Food and Agriculture engaged the District Assemblies that provided the locations for the construction of the dams and the selection of contractors.
On the issue of the NDC describing the ‘One-Village,One-Dam as ‘Dug-out’, Dr Gyiele rubbished that claim, saying that the dams constructed by the NDC government could best be described as ‘frog ponds’ which can easily be washed away by heavy rains.
The Minister lashed out at the NDC administration for failing to make water accessible for irrigation purposes, saying that between 2009 and 2016 the NDC government could not construct dams that could even irrigate more than 1,000 hectares of land.
The NPP government, he said, was currently constructing 10 small earth dams in each of the 57 constituencies in the five northern regions.
Of the 437 small earth dams that are active, 12 small irrigation dams were completed in Kataa (Wa East), Doug (Nadowli-Kaleo), Degri (Jirapa), Sentu (Lambussie) and Tuopari (Nandom).