The delay to rehabilitate the Vea water supply dam and irrigation scheme in the Upper East Region has been attributed to the rising inflation rate in the country.
The Vea irrigation water supply scheme which was constructed 43 years ago has not seen major rehabilitation until the government in the year 2022 handed over the project to Rann Luuk Construction Limited to rehabilitate the facility.
The implementing agency, Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) said that even though the project was handed over for rehabilitation in February, the government after due processes approved funds to be released in October 2022.
Ing Philemon Yankson, Chief Manager of Development said aside from the high inflation rate in the country, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine delayed the project.
“Inflation has gone up such that what was spent on chop money last year cannot feed the family and you need to double the amount. And we need so we needed to go back to the government and tell the government that this is what is happening.”
Ing Yankson said the initial amount of the contract sum to rehabilitate the irrigation project was around 2,37 million cedis “but due to the high inflation rate, the impact of the Covid-19, and the Russia-Ukraine war, prices of materials have increased”
According to the Chief Manager of Development at GIDA, the 2,37 million cedis support from the Government of Ghana for the project is still available but cannot rehabilitate the entire project.
“So, the government ordinarily, is looking for extra funds and that extra funds is what is bringing the World Bank to come and support”, he added.
Ing Yankson who was speaking during a stakeholder engagement held at the Vea scheme office said the Vea dam has the potential to irrigate about 1,300 hectares of land but 850 hectares of land were developed for farming which the rehabilitation works would cover.
“As to whether the 1300 hectares is even there because there is a lot of encroachment on the farmland. In 5 to 10 years, if we don’t develop this thing, all the land would be lost. That was why we put these things together and government went ahead and approved it”
He said the rehabilitation work was necessary because the canals, laterals, sub-laterals, and drainage systems are all silted up. And as a result, he said there is a challenge to the free flow of water from the dam to the farmlands, and that was affecting the farming business.
“We are also going to construct roads so that the farmers can easily bring in inputs and also when they sell their produce. In addition, we are going to do some work on the dam wall because the base has eroded and we need to restore that.
Ing Yankson said the construction period was to elapse for 30 months, but it would now be completed in 24 months because of the rescoping.
Dr. Benedict Bonaventure Aligebam, the Upper East Regional Manager Director of Irrigation Company of Upper Region, said a population of 2000 farmers from the 9 beneficiary communities were hooked up to the Vea Dam Water Supply Dam and Irrigation Scheme, but with its dilapidated state, the population of farmers along the project currently stands at 400.
“The right bank that we are envisaging to repair, we should be getting about 850 farmers back”
The chief of Vea, Naba Thomas Azubuire II, said the completion of the rehabilitation project would help provide jobs to the teaming youth of the region who would have travelled to the southern parts of the country in search of nonexistent jobs.
On behalf of the people of Vea, the chief assured the contractor of the corporation of the residents for a successful completion of the rehabilitation works.