Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says President Akufo-Addo would cut sod for the construction of a Pwalugu Dam in the Upper East Region by November to check the perennial spillage of the Bagre dam.
Spillage of the dam occasioned by Burkinabe authorities over the years has inflicted substantial destruction to farmlands in several local communities, compelling the President Akufo-Addo to announce to Parliament short term measures to contain the situation in February this year.
Construction of the Pwalugu Dam which is projected to cost $750 million is the largest investment any government has ever injected into infrastructure expansion in the northern sector since Ghana’s independence from colonial rule in 1957.
About 25,000 hectares of farm lands would be under irrigation to supplement approximately 12,900 hectares of land currently under irrigation in the country.
Dr Bawumia said the Pwalugu Dam would also serve as source of electricity and help improve irrigation farming in local communities in the farming area.
“It is the biggest investment in northern Ghana on any infrastructure project since independence,” Dr Bawumia said, while addressing the chiefs and people of Lawra on Saturday at their 43rd Kobine Festival celebration.
The annual festival, marked to celebrate bumper harvest during the farming season, was held under the theme: “Protecting our environment – key to ensuring our future food security”.
“We are very grateful to his Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo who will cut the sod next month for this major project by the Grace of God,” Dr Bawumia said.
The event was characterised by the rich culture of the Lawra people showcasing their dancing and hunting prowess as well as their rich clothing and regalia, the smock.
The occasion is aimed at celebrating the gallant local farmers for their unwavering efforts and commitment to ensure national food security.
It was graced by traditional rulers across the region, parts of Savannah Region and neighbouring Burkina Faso as well as government functionaries, Municipal and District Chief Executives and Heads of Departments.
The government has for the past three years, made huge investment to modernise agriculture, improve food production sufficiency, achieve food security and make farming more profitable to rural farmers.
The Vice President told the crowd that the ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development’, for instance, has promoted growth of local economic trees for export and local consumption.
It also helped boost sustainable development of the local economy and protect the fast degrading environment for posterity.
With the ‘’Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, according to government, 1,511 farmers benefited from the scheme in 2017, which saw a tremendous increase in 2018 to 5,024, and further climbed to 5,744 in 2019.
However, Dr Bawumia was unhappy that efforts of the government to promote the agriculture sector was being undermined by negative practices of some people.
He said the rampant illegal mining and bush burning were some negative activities affecting the environment and undermining efforts geared towards national food security.
He called for collective action from stakeholders to protect the environment for the benefit of current and future generations.
On government initiatives to improve lives of people in the Lawra Traditional Area, the Vice President said, government has constructed seven water closets with mechanised water facilities in some communities under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Project (IPEP).
Mr Anthony Karbo, Member of Parliament for Lawra Constituency, said government is committed to ensuring access to clean water for the people evidenced in the drilling of 155 boreholes in the municipal area.
He said out of the number, 65 have been completed but are yet to be fixed with pump installation and other ancillary facilities.
The remaining boreholes would be drilled by December 2019, he added: “I am also pleased, Naa Chairman, to inform you that work on the Small Town Water project has started with the drilling of mechanised boreholes in Ermon and Domwini communities”.