Rehabilitation work has begun on the Vea irrigation dam, one of Ghana’s flagship agriculture project in the Bongo district. In the next 30 months, the dam will be boosted to be more supportive of the dry season, food security and the reduction of poverty.
The project will comprise, among other things, the renovation of the dam’s slopes, canals and laterals to ensure stability, good drainage systems, inner roadways, and perimeter protection surrounding the irrigable region.
The Vea dam was first established in 1965 to promote more dry season farming activity in the region. It supplied water to approximately 4 000 farmers in nine communities, including Vea, Bongo-Nyariga, Yorogo, Dindubisi, Bolgatanga, Zaare, Yikene, Gowrie and Sumbrungu.
However, due to a lack of maintenance, many laterals and canals at the Vea dam had been severely damaged. This led to more than 2 000 farmers having to close doors. They could no longer farm during the dry season and communities found it difficult to carry water over long distances for irrigation.
Upon establishment, the dam provided water for 1 179 hectares of farmland.
Boosting rice production
According to a media release issued by government the project forms part of the larger Ghana commercial agriculture project. Through the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (Gida), 22 public irrigation schemes were built to support agriculture and local production.
“The irrigation schemes supply water to local communities for the production of rice and play a vital role in the government’s strategy to improve agriculture, increase local production and reduce the need for imported rice,” says a media release.
“The objective of the project was to rehabilitate and modernise both irrigation schemes (including irrigation and drainage systems) to improve water conveyance efficiency, technical operations and scheme management, and help small scale farmers to grow their crops year-round in both the wet and dry seasons.”
Gida is overseeing the completion of the project. Wilson Darkwa, Gida’s executive director, advised beneficiaries to plant trees around the dam to safeguard it. He appealed with them to cooperate and support the contractor in completing the job on time so that the people’s livelihoods could be restored.