Some communities in the Northern Regions are expected to benefit from government’s One Village, One Dam programme when it commences in December.
According to the Deputy Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, the programme is expected to commence in the dry season, which is expected sometime in December 2017.
“In fact, engineers and some other experts have gone all-out in the communities and already done some assessment, and so we have the first batch of communities that will benefit from this programme immediately we kick-start,” he told Parliament.
Answering a question from the MP for Builsa North, James Agalga, regarding timelines for reconstruction of the Kasa Small Scale Irrigation Dam in his constituency, the Deputy Food and Agric Minister said the programme will also see to the rehabilitation of non-functioning dams.
“With the 1 Village, 1 Dam programme, we are going to repair existing dams that can be of good use to our people in Northern Ghana as well as the Savannah zones, and we are hoping to capture it in the 2018 budget and then we tackle the dams,” he said.
The One-Village-One-Dam policy is one of the flagship programmes of the Akufo-Addo administration aimed at ensuring all year-round agriculture in the three regions of the North, through the construction of irrigation dams in every village in that part of the country, at an estimated cost of over GH?2billion.
Dr. Bambangi also explained that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will be having a consultative forum on a transformational plan dubbed the ‘Marshall Plan’ for agricultural sector.
Only last week the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, announced that a Marshall Plan is expected to take government’s initiatives into a higher gear.
“Implementing the Marshall Plan for Agriculture will lead to structural transformation, which in turn will catalyse economic activities and connect major sectors of the Ghanaian economy. It will lead to higher farmer incomes, value addition, jobs and the opportunities that come with being globally competitive,” he said.
The country’s agricultural sector, which continues to be the anchor of the economy, has not performed well in recent years. In the past eight years, the annual rate of growth for the sector has declined from 7.4 percent in 2008 to 2.4 percent in 2015. This is below the six percent annual growth target set out in the Maputo Deceleration of 2003.
Financing has been a major barrier to growth in the agriculture sector, as lenders see it as a high-risk area due to its largely rain-dependent nature. To lure banks into the sector, the Bank of Ghana in October 2016 launched the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL), which is providing a GH¢100million guarantee for lenders to the agric sector.