Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make my maiden Statement on the floor of this august House about
the need for Government to invest much more in the construction of irrigation dams and rehabilitation of old ones across the country, particularly in my constituency, Lawra.
Mr Speaker, in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2012 Manifesto, the NDC Government intends to ensure food security and all-year-round farming in the country. Thus, I wish to urge Government to take a good look at the importance of the Black Volta, which runs through my constituency and its relevance to irrigation.
Mr Speaker, Government intends to promote the efficient utilisation of existing irrigation facilities, especially in drought prone areas; rehabilitate viable irrigation infrastructure; develop appropriate and affordable irrigation schemes, dams, boreholes, and other water harvesting techniques for different categories of farmers and ecological zones; and the irrigation of 15,000 hectares of land under the Pwalugu multi-purpose hydroelectric schemes.
Mr Speaker, it is against this backdrop, that I call on Government to take a serious look at the Kamba River, which takes its source from the Lambussie District. This dam, when developed well, will not only benefit Lambussie, but also communities such as Nandom, Lawra, and other parts of the Jirapa District.
I am happy that the Government is looking at developing appropriate and affordable irrigation schemes. I also believe that if irrigation dams are dug in towns and villages along rivers such as the Black Volta, Government will save its coffers, as compared to constructing irrigation dams in serious drought-prone areas.
Plans to construct the Kamba Dam were mooted since 1953, and yet successive governments have not had the political will to bring to fruition these plans. As I
make this Statement on the floor of this august House, the Kamba River is not really put into good use.
Mr Speaker, I believe successive governments were not able to invest in the construction of the Kamba Dam, because of its huge investment cost. Therefore, I would want to urge Government to look at existing rivers in the constituency, such as the Black Volta.
Mr Speaker, communities such as Brifo, Gbeiri, Dikpe, Bagri and some other communities along the same river in the Nandom and Wa West Constituencies ought to be given serious consideration by Government.
The production of vegetables, onions tomatoes and other vegetables should not be a problem in the three regions of the North as most communities share boundaries with the rivers, streams and the Black Volta and possibly the White Volta.
I will therefore, propose that Government, through the intervention of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), invest in the rehabilitation of large irrigation dams in communities such as Duori, Dowine, Tumu, Boo, Eremon, Tukuu dams, et cetera to help give jobs to the youth of these communities.
Mr Speaker, investing in the construction of irr igation dams in communities along the Black Volta, as I indicated earlier, will not cost Government's coffers that much, as compared to constructing dams in serious drought- communities. I wish to further suggest though, that communities in drought-prone areas equally need the intervention of irrigational dams to ensure all-year- round farming.
Mr Speaker, my opinion is that, if Government invests much more in irrigation dams, the influx of youth from the North to the cities in search of non- existing jobs could be curbed. The youth will rather remain in the North and invest their energy or efforts in the production of vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, et cetera, for both local consumption and export.
Inasmuch as Government decides to ensure food security in Ghana with irrigation farming, the old irrigation dams should be rehabilitated and a lot more new ones be dug, and our gallant farmers making more money during the dry season will certainly be guaranteed.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I call on Government to energize SADA to live up to its responsibility in bringing a great relief to our gallant farmers in the country, by helping to create big but sustainable irrigation dams in the Upper West Region and the country at large.
Thank you Mr Speaker for this opportunity.