Kpasinkpe (NER) The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) has organised a day’s community engagement with some selected communities within the project catchment area of the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose and Irrigation Dam (PMIDP).
The meeting is to explain the composition of the project and the processes involved in its execution.
The 24,000-hectare irrigable dam would have about 70 percent commercial farm component with 30 percent being smallholder farms to be reserved for local farmers within the catchment area, create about one million jobs from all three major components of Power, Flood Control and irrigation farming, with 14 communities earmarked for resettlement.
The National Director of Planning at GIDA, Mr Eric Samuel Adu-Darkwa who led a separate team to address small clusters of Communities in Mamprusi West Municipal of the North East Region, told the gatherings that the project would be the single largest dam in Northern part of Ghana with considerable large farmlands to be tilled at commercial and smallholder farm levels.
He explained that recommendations from consultants would be considered to guide the institution and socio-economic development of the process and noted that 30 per cent of farmland from the project would be 8,000 hectares and equivalent to 20,000 acres.
“We expect that it makes a great impact on your lives. Now you have a developed place to facilitate the cultivation of rice, sugar, maize and many other crops. It is going to improve on your health and create one million jobs around the crop value chain,” he emphasized.
Mr Adu-Darkwa said when the project was completed and starts operation, “Our young girls and ladies will not run to Kumasi anymore. They will now stay at home because they will have dignified jobs and a source of constant income.”
He conceded that land acquisition remained a critical aspect of the project and advised the people not to exercise fear of losing their lands.
He explained that the necessary contingencies would be taken into consideration to ensure that whatever was deserving would be given to them.
The Director educated the people on the processes involved in the Multi-Purpose project, adding that officials of the Lands Commission and Survey Department would soon begin the process.
He said the area to be mapped for the first phase is 3,000 hectares or 75,000 acres and appealed to the people to cooperate with the teams that visit their communities.
He said the community leaders would be informed ahead of the visit of any of the teams.
Mr Andrew Alalbila, Acting Zonal Manager at GIDA for the Northern Zone, said the project would be a game-changer with a key component dedicated to agriculture with a value of about $400 million.
He said the project, which involves Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of bigger structures wall, gate and canal to transport water, farm roads, warehouses, electricity, water, housing for staff among other facilities.
Power China International Company was the contractor on site.
At question time, predominant questions the community members posed were issues about compensation, how the project was to contain activities of Fulani herdsmen, payment for use of water for farming, and how farmers would access the water for the intended purposes.
Responding to these questions, Mr Adu-Darkwa explained to the communities that the investment in the project is about $1billion and so huge that Managers of the project would not allow Fulanis to destroy it, and said the purpose of the Community engagement was therefore to resolve such issues.
He said the project would have a series of infrastructure, including designated places for paddock development to allow animals to graze and drink water from.
He explained that farmers would pay the irrigation service charge to cater for the provision of water for the farms and maintenance of the facility, adding that they shall be organised into Water User Associations and would have service areas designated to each group.
The Director for Planning said the project components would allow for a Scheme Management Entity which would be private and mandated to supervise activities of farmers all year round.
“The facility will be all year round farming and so it will be big business with the necessary technical support to make the yields from the farms good.”
He said government would officially acquired the land to allow every farmer, whether male or female, to have an equal opportuniuty of access.
The system would be automated with volumetric measurements to do fair distribution and payment. If you waste water, you pay more,” he said.
Source: Ghana News Agency