A report of investigations on expenditure and performance tracking of 1V1D initiative by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA) has disclosed that the dams haves not Contributed to Increasing food security, Agriculture productivity and creation of jobs in the beneficiary communities as was stated in the 1D1V policy document.
Government of Ghana in 2018 commenced the construction of small scale damps in over 500 villages in fulfillment of a campaign message the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made to the people of Northern Ghana in its 2016 manifesto to construct a dam each in every village in Northern Ghana to facilitate dry season farming.
” Facilitate the provision of community-owned and managed small-scale Irrigation facilities accross the country, especially in Northern Ghana, through the policy of One Village, One Dam.”
Many members of beneficiary communities and Irrigation experts complained that the dams were poorly constructed with some arguing that the small earth Dams do not meet the characteristics of dams but “dug outs” after the contractors used only two weeks maximum to complete the construction.
Several years after media reports and Advocacy by various concerned CSOs, the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy which is a convener of Coalition of Northern Ghana CSOs with Funding support from Africa Centre for Energy Policy, carried out an assessment of he expenditure and performance tracking of the One Village, One Dam policy in five poor districts in the Upper East, North East, Northern, Upper west and Savannah regions where about 285 dams have been constructed so far..
The report titled, Ghana’s Oil Money on Dried Dams, revealed that community members of the beneficiary communities through focus group discussions stated that the dams have not served the purpose for which they were constructed.
” We went to Gbedembisi community in the Builsa South district and about 20 farmers who we met said the Dams did not contain enough water for all year farming and they were dried during dry season. We went to Yadema and the response was the same thing. Same was reported in the other districts.”
” We asked them if the Dams had enough water for all year farming, 1V1D has contributed to increased agriculture productivity?, 1V1D has contributed to food security?, 1V1D has contributed to reducing out-migration as a result of job creation?. Regrettably, the community members who contributed in the focus group discussions said, nothing, the Dams did not contribute in any way to increase agriculture productivity.”
The executive director of NOPRA, Mr. Bismark Adongo Ayorogo said as part of the findings, the team went to some of the dam sites to ascertain the nature of the Dams and they found out that most of the Dams were dried up.
” We went to the Dams to see for ourselves and shockingly, almost all the Dams were dried up. No single dam had water and there was no dry season farming around any of the Dams we went to.”
The report also revealed that contrary to a statement by the sector minister then, Madam Hawa kumson, that the contract sum of the 1V1D was Gh250,000, documents from the secretariat of the Special Initiative reveal that the contract sum far exceeded that amount.
” We were able to track expenditures of 285 1V1D and at the end we realised government spent over Gh200 million cedis on this Dams and when we strike the average, we saw that government spent over Gh670,000.00 per dam as against the contract sum of 250,000 that we saw.”
Launching the report on Monday 29th May,2023 at the Koku Awunor Williams Health In-Service Training and conference centre in Bolgatanga, Professor Miller of the Miller Institute remarked that it was good for an organisation from the region to carry out the assessment which has been backed with hard experiential data.
Prof. Miller said it is intriguing to hear of the data that has been unearthed by the report.
” It is rather intriguing for me that this alarming figures have come. Zero percent of the Dams the project studied are in use, sixty percent dried up during the dry season. That’s how disastrous the situation is.”
He added that the poor implementation of the 1V1D initiative is a disservice to the communities and that if there were vocal communities, it would have resulted in some disturbances.
The learnerd professor has suggested to government to revisit the Dams and finish those that have not been completed. He also advised against constructing future Dams under one month.
” Government should revisit the unfinished Dams and try to finish them. As a student of Agric, I suggest that a dam should never be constructed under one year, never. Construction of a dam is a cycle. You do in in one year then you go back and examine it after the rains if you got everything right and make the necessary corrections. So policy wise, if you are going to construct a good dam and for it to last,you spread it over three yeas.”
He added that priority should be placed on the quality of the dams instead of labeling them 1V1D because good Dams can serve many communities. He has also advised government to consider rehabilitating existing Dams.
The report further recommended an audit of the entire policy to to unravel and settle the contract sum differences. They also recommended that the Ghana Irrigation Authority be made to take charge of the implementation of the rest of the policy.
By:Simon Agana Blessing/mywordfmonline.com