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ICOUR hints of cutting off 1,200 farmers from Tono Irrigation Project

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The acting Managing Director of Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR), Sebastian Bagna has said about 1,200 farmers cultivating within the Tono Irrigation Project enclave in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region will be cut off from the scheme due to low level of water in the Tono Dam.

According to him, the development was as a result of low level of water in the Tono dam following insufficient rains in the last rainy season.

“In the rainy season, the rainfall in this area has been below average and so because of that, we have very low inflows into our main reservoir which serves as the main source of irrigation water to the farmers.

Normally, we do about 1,300 hectares per season but, because of this inadequate availability of water for this coming dry season, we have cut down our production area from the 1,300 to about 500 hectares. I can tell you that about 60% of our farmers may be cut off. We normally have about an average of 2,000 farmers per season. So we are talking about maybe, 1,000 to 1,200 farmers maybe cut off. But what we are doing is to ensure that at least, every community at the project, as much as possible still benefits from these 500 hectares that we want to embark on.” The acting MD said.

He lamented that due to the current development, total production of rice and vegetables at the Tono Irrigation Project area enclave will be low at the end of the production season. “It means that what we will be sending out to the market will be reduced. And of course, there are some people who also depend on the project for their livelihoods and you would have reduced the quantity of foodstuffs at the end of the season because some of them may not be able to crop while others will be cropping on smaller areas.” He stressed.

Touching on the Vea Irrigation Project, Mr. Bagna said: “For the case of Vea, because of the level of deterioration on the Vea scheme, that is why the area of production is currently low and that is the very reason why the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) is coming in to rehabilitate the two schemes.

The situation is that, the two projects, Tono and Vea projects which are managed by ICOUR, have been taken up by GCAP to improve upon them by rehabilitating and modernizing them so that they will improve efficient irrigation water delivery to the two projects.”

He further disclosed that the design drawings and details of work to be done have been completed by the consultants through GCAP with support from the World Bank and waiting for GCAP to get contractors to the two sites to begin the rehabilitation works. Though he could not specify when works on the two sites will commence, the acting MD was hopefully it take place this year.

Mr. Bagna called on farmers to be more efficient in the way they use the water so as to enable management of ICOUR    to increase the number of hectares that can be put under cultivation at a time.


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