$40m for Farmers Affected by Dam Spillage

There is some good news at last for farmers who have lost their farms due to the ongoing spillage of the Akosombo Dam.

Few days after President Akufo-Addo visited some of the hard-hit communities, government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has announced allocation of funds to make up for the loss.

The $40million package announced by the sector minister, Bryan Acheampong, was released from the World Bank-funded Food System Resilient Programme.

The minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Abetifi constituency, made the announcement at the launch of a presidential conference on youth-in-agriculture in Accra.

According to him, the move is to restore farms which have been destroyed as a result of the spillage.

“We have all witnessed the devastation as a result of the necessary action the Volta River Authority (VRA) had to take to save the Aksosmbo Dam. As a result, several farmers have been affected. I have directed that due to their emergency, $40 million of the World Bank Fund funding food system resilient programme be restructured to restore farmers fully whose farms have been wiped out,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, said that the lake was experiencing inflows more than expected, hence the spillage was going to continue.

“We are on phase II [of the spillage] right now and it is a cycle. It is normal at this time of the year for us to experience inflows. The difference is that we are getting more than expected and to safeguard this dam means that we have to spill water, that is the standard operation for any hydro dam but the inflows that we are seeing now are in excess.

“Definitely, as the cycle goes through this will recede so we are hoping it will recede in the next time,” he told journalists on Thursday, October 12.

“The spilling may continue even though we are anticipating that the levels may drop down to phase 1, which was started on September 15 but of course, we did not have much excess as we are seeing now, this is an emergency as we have seen from the beginning.

“Whether dredging or no dredging it is an emergency. The volume of water that is coming into the lake right now which we have to throw out, it means that we need to evacuate people from wherever they are to ensure they are safe until the inflows recede,” he added.

The VRA was accused of neglecting its responsibilities in the Lower Volta Basin hence the huge impact of flood caused by spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams on communities.

During his visit to some of the affected communities on Monday, President Akufo-Addo assured the chiefs and people of Mepe and the other towns in the North, South, and Central Tongu areas in the Volta Region that government is going to do whatever it can to alleviate their plight.

He said “When I took the oath of office as president, I took the oath of office as president for every single individual in Ghana, of all the people in Ghana, all districts whether they voted for me or not, once I have taken the oath of office I am the president of all the people.

“So Togbe, you and your elders, I want you to understand that when something like this happens and the government acts government is acting for Ghanaians.

“I came here because Ghanaians are having difficulties and suffering and it is my responsibility to try and help. If it is the question of counting who votes for me and who doesn’t vote for me  I shouldn’t be here because you don’t vote for me but that is not my concern. In any event one day, you will vote for me and my party.”

He added, “I came here this afternoon to express my sympathies and to commiserate with all the people in the Mepe area. I chose Mepe because this is the area that has been most affected.

“We have to also be very grateful for the work of VRA, the preparation they have been making over the years in such a situation, the simulation exercise, and all the things they have been doing to prepare for this including the sensitization. Because of the good that they have done up until now, by the grace of God, not one single individual has lost his life in this crisis,” he said.

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