Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih has assured the chiefs and people of the three districts who were excluded from the 670.20 kilometers farm access road projects that he will do his utmost to ensure that they benefit from the project.

The €35 million projected funded by the European Union for 8 out of 11 districts and municipalities in the region has sparked demonstrations in the Sissala enclave over their exclusion.

Speaking at the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council where the chiefs called on him to register their displeasure on their exclusion from the project, he stated, ‘‘For the project to be reengineered for the whole Upper West region to benefit that will be done depending on the reaction of the European and the world bank officials.

“If that is not possible, we will further have to appeal to them to roll out funding for the 3 excluded districts,’’ he continued.

We will work to ensure Upper West region benefits from the €35m farm access road project - Upper West Minister assures chiefs

Following the press conference and the demonstration last Monday during which they raised concerns on their exclusion from the farm access road project, the paramount chiefs from the three Sissala enclaves and the Sissala Youth Form took their petition a notch higher to the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council to meet with the Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih.

They were joined by directors and engineers from the various road agencies and departments of Agric in the region. Paramount chief of the Zinni traditional area, Kuoro Abu Diaka Bukabe is the leader of the delegation.

The project in contention is the 35 million euro-funded farm access road projects for 8 out of 11 municipalities and districts in the upper west region. Roads and Highway Minister Kwasi Amoako-Attah broke the ground last week at Kpongu in the Wa municipality for the project to begin.

Since then there have been agitations from the Sissala enclave over their exclusion from the project in view of the fact that the 3 Sissala districts are the food baskets of the region and more importantly the leading producers of maize and soya bean in the country.

However, despite the several thousands of tons of maize and other foodstuffs coming from the area, they have the worst roads in the region.

Dr. Bin Salih explained that his outfit, the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council has no hand in the section of the beneficiary district.

We will work to ensure Upper West region benefits from the €35m farm access road project - Upper West Minister assures chiefs

He said the selection of the roads for the project started in 2016 when the Ministry of Food and Agriculture selected some consultants to vary out feasibility studies consultation on the project.

“The report was submitted in 2017 and by 2018 decisions had been taken,” he added.

Leader of the delegation, Kuoro Abu Diaka Bukabe Ninii V earlier rehashed statements contained in their press conference demanding to know the criteria used to select the beneficiary districts and for it to be published in the interest of transparency and fairness.

Paramount chief of the Pulima tradition area, Kuoro Osman Nankpa Deewie stated that the demonstration was not to spite either the government or the regional minister but that they want fairness and equity.

”If the criteria used is on the basis of worst road networks, the Sissala enclave will be covered… and of course if the criteria was on the basis of production of Agric produce you will not skip us,” he opined.

President of the Sissala Youth Forum, Issifu Napuna stated that the Sissala enclave over the years has been discriminated against when it comes to the award of road projects and will want duty bearers to change over a new leave.