Sakom irrigation dam rehabilitated

The people of Sakom, a farming community in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region, are now heaving a sigh of relief following the rehabilitation of their irrigation dam, which broke down
two years ago.

The Sakom Dam was constructed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 1990.

With the rehabilitation of the dam, the people who cultivate mainly onions and some rice, have stepped up production as the source of water for irrigation is now close to their farms.

This came to light when some 20 journalists from Ghana and Burkina Faso who attended a two-day trans-boundary media sensitisation workshop in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital at the weekend, were taken on a field trip to the dam site.

Mr. Charles Akwotiga, the Bawku West District Agricultural Development Officer, who conducted the journalists round, said the dam was rehabilitated through the collaborative efforts of PADEV, a Project for improving Water Governance in the Volta Basin, a Ouagadougou-based institution under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an NGO, and the Bawku West District Assembly.

Mr Akwotiga said PAGEV contributed 45,000 euros towards the rehabilitation while the Assembly provided a counterpart funding of 25,000 euros.

He told the journalists that before the rehabilitation of the dam, the people had to walk about 15 kilometres to fetch water from a river to irrigate their farms, a situation, which he said, had threatened the family cohesion in the Sakom community.

He explained that the men would go and fetch the water and spend the greater part of the day irrigating their farms while the women and children remained at home.

The District Agricultural Development Office said in 2007, the dam developed a big crack and the water in it drained and inundated the farms of the community, bringing in its wake poverty and despondency among the people.

He said, however, that with the rehabilitation of the dam, the farmers now earn enough to be able to cater for themselves and their families as a bag of onions now sold at GHc 100.

The people expressed their gratitude to PAGEV and the Assembly whose support they said had enabled them to do an all-year round farming and helped to improve their lot.

The journalists were also taken to a tributary of the White Volta at Mognori, a border town in the Bawku Municipality where the Assembly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the community had planted three kilometres of trees along the banks of the Ghana side of the river to help check erosion.

They were told that Burkina Faso had also cultivated about 21 kilometres of trees along its side of the river bank for the same purpose.

The Water Resources Commission (WRC) organised the workshop under the sponsorship of PAGEV to provide the journalists with the relevant information on efforts being made by Ghana and Burkina Faso to foster greater cooperation in the use and management of the water resource of the Volta basin.

The journalists are expected to disseminate the information to sensitise the peoples of the two countries to elicit their support from an informed position to help promote greater cooperation in the use and management of the water resource of the Volta.

Source: GNA

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