The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on the government to change the current 1 VIllage 1 Dam initiative to “one district, one dam.”
According to PFAG, this will ensure that the dams would be viable and hold water throughout the year to ensure an all-year-round agricultural production.
PFAG members made the call during a validation workshop in Bolgatanga to validate an assessment that was commissioned by PFAG in February this year with funding from OXFAM in Ghana.
It was to establish the appropriateness of the 1V1D initiative in addressing water requirements of smallholder farmers for both domestic use and agricultural activities as stipulated by the Ministry of Special Development Initiative.
Participants at the workshop included; Directors from District Departments of Agriculture, representatives from Irrigation Development Authority, Civil Society Organisations, Assembly Members, Farmers and Chiefs from the communities that benefited from the 1V1D in the Upper East Region.
It was clear during the workshop that whilst peasant farmers were happy with the 1V1D initiative by the government, they were equally disappointed with the type of dams that were constructed in their communities.
They said most of the dams were poorly constructed, others were too small to contain enough water for irrigation activities and some were washed away already after some few rains.
Head of Programmes and Advocacy at PFAG, Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, who addressed the media after the workshop, said PFAG fully supported the 1V1D initiative but its members were not happy with the way the dams were constructed.
Nyaaba said “you cannot use between GHc230, 000 and GHc250, 000 to construct a dam. We will rather advise government to consolidate all the money for the 10 dams promised each village to construct just one good dam for each district for a year.”
He added “If government is able to do that for every year, in the next 10 years, each district would have gotten 10 good dams that can be used for irrigation and domestic activities. We saw similar dams constructed in the past, which are benefitting farmers today. There is no value for money with the type of dams that were constructed under the 1V1D.”
Divisional Chief of Kazigu, who is a Civil Engineer by profession, Kazigu Pe Paarekuri Asangechera Aluaa, expressed disappointment at consultants, who advised the government on the construction of the dams.
He said “The designers of those dams are the number one enemies of this government. As a Civil Engineer, I have never seen the design of a dam like this. I am ready to help government to do the right thing for free. I constructed one dam in my village with GHC 10,000.00 in 1997 and that dam is currently the main source of water for irrigation activities and domestic use in my community.”
Participants at the workshop, therefore, recommended that stakeholders should be properly consulted in community development projects, while the Irrigation Development Authority should be allowed to play its statutory role, and that dam designs should be based on topography and needs of each community and not the one size fit all proposed dam.