Seven communities in the Talensi and West Mamprusi districts in the Upper East and North East regions are to be resettled as part of a Resettlement Action Plan under the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam (PMPD) project to fix the issues surrounding the annual dam spillages from Burkina Faso.
The communities are Suhuluya, Kurugu, Kparipiri, Gubeu and Kpa-atusi in the West Mamprusi District, and Nungu and Digaari in the Talensi District.
“When we are able to do that you will no more hear and witness the flooding of these communities, including submerging of farmlands as is the case now every year," the Public Relations Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA) on the PMPD, Mr David Prah, noted.
He explained that there was a resettlement scheme in which new townships would be constructed for the affected communities, and gave the assurance that they would have “new houses, roads, schools, places of worship, markets,” among others.
The plan has come up as some farmers in the Talensi and Bawku West districts in the Upper East Region have called on the government to speed up work on the PMPD to serve as a remedy for the consequences of the annual ritual of dam spillage from Burkina Faso.
The farmers said the Pwalugu Dam would permanently resolve the annual flooding and the attendant destruction of farmlands and deaths, particularly during the Bagre Dam spillage in Burkina Faso.
Mr Prah indicated that as a permanent solution to the annual flooding, a 350-kilometre square reservoir would be constructed to hold water spilled from the Bagre Dam to generate electricity, while a 115-kilometre weir would also be built to hold water for the irrigation of 25,000 hectares of farmland downstream.
He said the activities currently ongoing included site clearing, hydrological studies at the dam site, and general acquisition of land in the project area.
“Officially, we may not do much with this year's rains than to provide the usual support that we have been providing, working with relief agencies, to ensure that people have been evacuated from the flood areas and helping them with relief items," he pointed out.
The farmers further urged the government to ensure that in the short to medium term, farmers — particularly those in flood-prone areas — were supported with farming logistics such as water pumping machines to enable them to start planting early and harvest before the floods hit the system.
The call by the farmers during separate interviews with the Daily Graphic yesterday followed the announcement by SONABEL, the agency that manages the Bagre and Kompienga dams in Burkina Faso, that the annual spillage of the dams would take place from tomorrow to Monday, August 30 this year.
The farmers said most of them were yet to harvest their crops because they were not yet mature or fully ripe for harvesting.
A farmer at Pwalugu in the Talensi District, Mr Baba Iddrisu, who cultivated sugar cane, maize, cassava and yellow melon last year, said he was only able to harvest his sugar cane and cassava because he planted those crops on higher ground where it was difficult for the flood water to reach.
He said he lost all the maize and yellow melon when his farm got flooded.
Two maize and groundnuts farmers in the Bawku West District, Francis Ayaaba and Charles Azure, said because the rains delayed this year, they were yet to harvest their crops.
“Today, for instance, we are going again to see if we can harvest something because all along we could not harvest anything,” Mr Azure said.