By Fatima Anafu-Astanga, GNA
Navrongo, April 12, GNA – Mr Sebastian Bagina, Director of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR), on Thursday hinted that his outfit had made progress to address challenges confronting the irrigation facility to improve usage by farmers.
He said the over 30 years Irrigation dam had suffered stress from activities of farmers leading to breakdown of canals and laterals and noted that repair works would soon start to overhaul all laterals, sub-lateral , as well as the automation of the general irrigation system.
Mr Bagina said over usage and the lack of regular maintenance of the dam and its accessories had led to extensive deterioration of the system and indicated that the impact was enormous as evaporation, leakage and water seepage beyond plot boundaries were rampant and affected the system.
The Director indicated that the scheme could not make enough revenue from farmers to undertake maintenance works due to these challenges.
He made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) and indicated that out of the 4,000 expected farmers the system was constructed to contain at each farming season; it was currently able to support only 2,500 farmers in a season.
The situation, he said, was worsening daily as the facility could only serve 400 farmers this current dry season in the face of government flagship programme « Planting for Food and Jobs ».
According to him the 30 year old irrigation facility fitted perfectly into government’s flagship programme, however, the level of deterioration could undermine efforts to get farmers to patronize the facility to fully participate in the programme geared towards improving the food basket of the Upper East Region.
Mr Bagina who reiterated the effects of climate change on the system said, ICOUR had plans to address this by ensuring that it improved on the forestation and other vegetation’s within the dam’s catchment areas and would rehabilitate the system to help improve water usage and enable farmers use water more efficiently and to effectively conserve water.
He noted that the rehabilitation would lead to improved productivity which would invariably improve incomes of famers as well as cushion the revenue base of the scheme, to enable management continue to maintain the system.
He stated that the farmers were being sensitized to initiate platforms of water users associations to ensure more efficient use of the system.
The Director said the formation of water users associations at the project site would help the farmers show sense of ownership to effectively play stakeholder roles to ensure maintenance and sustain the scheme.
18 April 18