DAWA, a community in Ningo Prampram area in the Greater Accra Region whose main occupation is farming, has commended the former government for the construction of the dam in the community.
The project, which cost GH¢570,903 was under the petroleum revenue allocated for rehabilitation under Ghana Irrigation Development Authority of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The dam, according to the farmers, though very useful to them, has also caused damage to them as the river has washed the top soil of the land, leaving the crops to be affected by diseases.
Upon visit by Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), together with members of the Institute of Economic and Financial Journalists, to the site of the dam, it was observed that if the dam is not rehabilitated, when there is a heavy rain the entire community would be flooded.
Mr Samuel Nseboah Amrah, an Extension Officer of the area, explained that the dam, which was constructed in the year 2014, was destroyed by heavy rains and so needs to be reinforced to prevent it from breaking down.
According to him, “The contractors did not listen to us when we found faults with their work; they thought we were not the ones that hired them to work. The assembly did not consult us for our views though we are the beneficiaries of the project.”
Madam Awo Ametepe, a vegetable farmer, explained to the DAILY HERITAGE that “we plant okro, tomatoes, onion and pepper in the rainy season but thanks to the dam we can now farm in the dry season without basically waiting for rainfall.
She, however, said her business was getting better due to the dam because she can grow, harvest and sell her produce in any season and make profit.
Mr Daniel Tei Nartey, leader of the dam committee and farmer, explained that sometimes yield was good and that before the dam, farmers were not cultivating onions and other crops like watermelon due to lack of water but now they are able to do so due to the dam.
Mr Nartey said their major problems are the condition of the dam and the cattle that mostly destroy their crops.
“We plant all year round without depending on rainfall. The people from Ashiaman are the ones who plant onions but the residents do more of okro and pepper.
The land lying a distance away from the dam area can produce 10 bags of pepper unlike the farmers at the irrigation site who harvest 12 bags of same crop on the land of the same size,” he said.
Condition of the dam
Mr Samuel Laryea Aryeh, former Assemblymember of Dawa Electoral Area, said the dam was yet to be de-silted after it was constructed.
According to him, the Dawa irrigation dam is made of compacted layers of earth soil heap in sack and the water in the dam is mostly diverted through underground pipelines of 50 small valves and 10 big valves that help to irrigate the farms in the community.
The Assemblymember lamented that ever since the dam was constructed the valves have not seen any maintenance, so the farmers used their own discretion to maintain to prevent it from any harm.
“I have complained to the authorities about the state of the dam but they have not responded to me and the rest of the committee members because I am no more an assembly member. So we use rope to tie the valve,” he explained.
Mr Kwame Jantuah, Vice Chairman of PIAC, adviced the farmers that it is their responsibility to maintain the dam and also write their grievances to the government for the authorities to know the state of the dam in order for them to put measures in place to secure it.
He suggested that the farmers report to the Ministry of Agriculture to act fast else further delay would cause harm when there is heavy rain.
Mr Jantuah added that the farmers should insist that MoFA try and push GIDA to constantly de-stilt the dam and reinforce that proper fencing is constructed round it to hold the water.