Some dry season farmers at Vea, a community in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region, have expressed worry about the continuous rise in the prices of fuel at the pumps. The situation, the farmers say, is having a huge toll on their businesses.
According to the farmers, while the Vea Irrigation Dam is supposed to supply water to their gardens, the many challenges facing the dam prevent the direct flow of water from the dams to their portions of land. Due to these challenges, farmers have had to invest resources into procuring water-pumping machines and pipes to be able to pump water from the canals into the laterals that flow directly onto their lands.
The petrol-powered machines, according to the farmers, have increased their costs on the farms exponentially.
When A1 Radio News visited the community, the farmers explained that the hikes in fuel prices have forced them to decrease their farm sizes.
“We use pumping machines to supply water for us in the Highlands, and a gallon of fuel is not able to help us pump the water up here so we are forced to always buy two to three gallons of fuel to be able to water crops and with the increase in fuel prices it is making difficult for us” a farmer, Awinloya Ayamga stated.
Another farmer, Awine Atanga, blamed the Irrigation Company of Upper Regions (ICOUR), managers of the Vea Irrigation Dam. Mr. Atanga said ICOUR has been unable to produce a chart that will advise farmers when on water would be made available. He said due to the unplanned and sometimes irregular flow of water to their farms, the farmers are forced to rely heavily on pumping the water themselves through the use of the water pumping machines.
“ICOUR is opening the water too much without any proper regulation or chart and when the water is not enough, we are forced to buy more fuel to be able to pump water to our farms,” he cried.
The farmers appealed to the government to reduce the prices of fuel to aid them to expand their farms in the coming season.
Meanwhile, the farmers also expressed grave concerns over the lack of ready market for their produce.
Speaking to A1 Radio at Vea, the farmers explained that due to the perishable nature of the vegetables they produce and the unavailability of cold storage facilities, they lose their harvests when they are unable to sell them off quickly. Their continuous losses, they explained, prevents them from investing more resources into expanding their businesses.
A1radioonline.com|101.1 MHz|Kennedy Zongbil & Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Vea|Ghana