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Farmers in Dorongo unhappy as dam remains heavily silted

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Farmers in northern Ghana have to actively engage in dry-season farming to help manage food insecurity and boost their incomes. This is because northern Ghana has a single rainy season. Without a reliable source of water, dry-season farming is impossible for farmers.

Over the years, successive governments have managed to construct some irrigation dams in northern Ghana. These include Tono, Vea, and Botanga irrigation dams, among others. This is to support dry-season farming.

For farmers in communities far away from these huge dams, President Nana Akuffo–Addo’s One Village One Dam was the answer to their questions. The implementation of the programme has, however, not been to the satisfaction of farmers in many parts of the Upper East Region.

Farmers in Dorongo, a community in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region are no different.

A dam, located at the Dorongo community in the Bolgatanga municipality of the Upper East region, a farming community, has never received any major rehabilitation since it was constructed over the years, causing a decline in farming activities in the community.

Some of the farmers who spoke to A1 Radio’s David Azure, stated that over the years, the Dorongo dam has served as a major source of employment for both the youth, women, and the elderly, especially in the dry season. But due to its current state, many of them are out of farming under very painful circumstances.

According to the farmers, the dam lost its original capacity and could not contain water for more than two months, hence their passionate call on the Bolgatanga municipal assembly, the department of food and agriculture, NGOs, and the government to work on their dam.

Richmond Atugra, a farmer from the community, said, “I find it difficult to understand the reasons authorities over the years don’t want to show interest in desilting the dam for effective farming activities. Now, as I speak, the majority of the youth are unable to continue with their farms because the dam cannot hold water like before.”

Mama Ama, a female vegetable farmer, said, “This year, I will be surprised if the water you are seeing in the dam can take us up to one month. We are really suffering here, and we are not even ready to use the dam this year. The dam is full of sediments and all kinds of substances, so indeed, the dam needs rehabilitation now.”

“It is unfortunate that farmers have been complaining over the years about the silted nature of our dam, but authorities are not paying attention to our concerns. Last year, I lost all the investment I made in my pepper farm because the dam dried up very early and could not sustain my pepper farm to the time of harvest,” Michael Anaba lamented.

Speaking to an agricultural policy consultant, Emmanuel Wullingdool, on the issue in relation to the benefits of dry season farming in northern Ghana, Mr. Wullingdool stated that dry season cultivation is one of the major contributory factors in sustaining food security in the country. According to him, it is important to encourage dry-season farming in northern Ghana, which he said can only be successful if farmers have access to a good source of water for irrigation purposes.

The assembly member for the Dorogo Electoral Area, Martin Agare Adongo, said that it is unfortunate that the dam hasn’t been desilted for many years after construction when community members are ready and willing to utilize the dam for dry season farming. He stated that the dam is important to him, makes it clear at the assembly level, and is hoping that it will get a facelift as soon as possible.

Source: A1Radioonline.Com|101.1MHZ|David Azure|Dorongo|

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