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Tono Irrigation Dam to be Closed Down

2007-07-11 22:36:48
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Famine is anticipated in the three northern regions during the coming dry season because the Kassena/Nankana District Assembly intends to close down the Tono Irrigation dam for renovation works on the canals.

Tomato and rice production in the Upper East Region would reduce, a situation that would not only affect tomato supply in the country but also the incomes of individuals who depend on the dam.

Mr. Emmanuel Chegeweh, Kassena/Nankana District Chief Executive, told the GNA in an interview on Tuesday that the district had taken the hard decision to close down the dam for one farming season because most parts of the canals had deteriorated.

He said the project, which was currently on tender, was expected to renovate a total of 1,000 hectares of land to improve farming in the area to ensure that many people had access to land for farming. He said 500 hectares of land had been earmarked for the production of paddy rice and 40 hectares for seed rice while 300 hectares would be used for the production of soya beans.

Additionally, 120 hectares would be used for the production of groundnuts and 40 hectares for pepper, onion, lettuce and other vegetables.

The project, which would be completed in 15 months, would adversely affect livelihoods especially with the unfavourable rainfall pattern in the three northern regions this year.

Mr. Chegeweh said whether the dam would be completely closed down or not would depend on the contractor who would win the bidding for the project.

He appealed to farmers in the area to be patient and depend on hand-dug wells and small-scale farming for tomato and vegetables until the project was completed.

He said ICOUR was determined to improve farming in the three northern regions through effective irrigation to address the perennial hunger and that the Vea Dam in Bolgatanga would also be considered after the completion of the Tono Dam.

Currently about 600 farmers practice dry season farming at the Tono Dam, which is the largest irrigation project in the country, for the production of rice and the popular "Navrongo tomatoes."


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