The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the immediate implementation of the one village, one dam project announced in the budget as one of the key sectoral projects for the 2017 fiscal year.
The union acknowledged that the project was laudable because of the importance of water in the agricultural sector, adding that the project was key for agricultural development in the northern part of the country which could go without rain for more than eight months of the year.
In an interview in Accra on March 16, 2017, the General Secretary of GAWU, Mr Edward Kareweh, said the successful implementation of the one village, one dam project would be a key determinant of the success of the other sectoral projects.
“Although the three projects, namely, Planting for Food and Jobs (PfF&J), one district, one factory and the one village, one dam, are distinct, they are interlinked,” he said.
Irrigation in Ghana
Mr Kareweh said there should be details as to the number of villages to be involved, the number of dams to be built this year, the number of dams already in existence, those that needed to be rehabilitated and how much it would cost.
He said GAWU was not just a pressure group but also existed to measure the performance of the government, policy makers and duty bearers.
“All we need to do is raise the issue that they may have overlooked, so we are raising these issues so that they can come out with supplementary policies to address them,” he said.
Mr Kareweh said because a target had been set under the PfF&J initiative to improve maize production by 30 per cent, rice by 49 per cent, soya bean by 25 per cent and sorghum by 28 per cent, space must be created for the expected production.
Citing rice, he said accessing the market was a challenge to local producers due to high imports.
Indeed, an estimated US$500 million is spent on the importation of rice annually. Imports went up to 330,000 tonnes in 2011/ 2012 and 320,000 tonnes in 2010/2011.
“It will be devastating for people to be made to produce only for them not to have the market for their produce,” he said.