The Member of Parliament for Garu, Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, has dragged the Minister for Food and Agriculture to parliament over the abandoned Tamme Irrigation Dam project.
According to him, Irrigated agriculture plays an important role as a significant contributor to our gross domestic product (GDP) and rural economic development.
He added that the Tamme Dam project also has the potential of employing many youths in the Constituency and its catchment.
Hon Akuka disclosed this to the Media in parliament after he has summoned the Minister of Food and Agriculture to parliament to explain when the Project would be completed, on Friday, November 12, 2021.
“Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture when the Tamne Dam will be completed and made available for irrigation purposes,” the Garu lawmaker asked.
He noted that agriculture has become “the most important sector to our development”, noting that it is the area that will provide food security and drive the nation forward.
He, therefore, appealed to the government and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority(GIDA) to consider revamping the facility to support dry season farming and to boost youth employment.
Full response by the Minister for Food and Agriculture in Parliament about the Tamme Irrigation Dam project
In response, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said, the Tamne dam contract was signed on January 25, 2016, between M/s Munisco Limited and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at a contract sum of sixty-seven million two hundred seventy thousand two hundred fifteen Ghana Cedis forty pesewas (GhS 67,270,215.40).
“Mr Speaker, Site construction however commenced the same year May, 2016 due to late fulfilment of the major contractual requirement of providing mobilization by MOFA. The supervising Consultant was M/s E. D. Kemevor Associates/RIOSAP. Mr Speaker, the Tamne dam project was conceptualized out of a study of an existing colonial report in an attempt to situate it into the geomorphological changes that had taken place over some three generations.
“ The project commenced at a rather fast pace leaving no time for adequate complementary social and demographic surveys associated with such projects. The Consultant managed to undertake a socio-economic study of the project area that covered five constituencies. However, some gaps were later filled by the implementing agency, the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA).
“Mr Speaker, some of the study details that were filled by GIDA, while at the physical construction phase of the dam, including delineation of full supply level of the reservoir to be created, a count of houses to be relocated, and identification of commercial tree crops to be compensated among others.
“The development of the project was in two phases. Phase one (1) involved the construction of the damn while Phase two (2) is a land area of 300 hectares. The adoption of a phased approach was expected to allow fiscal space for systematic development of the project, designed to create storage capable of irrigating eight hundred and fifty (850) gravity and upland areas combined.
“The major challenge of implementing the project was the reconstruction of twenty-two (22) houses determined to be either below the full supply level (FSL) or too close to the reservoir. The challenge stemmed from the fact that the cost of constructing the twenty-two (22) houses was not factored in the project’s budget because the Consultant had not undertaken the requisite study. Consequently, delayed arrangements for payments, slowed the progress of implementation and this was further compounded by the stoppage of completion works on the embankment formation.
“The stoppage was however necessary to sensitize and assure residents in the reservoir area about their safety before the dam wall was completed. Over time, escalating prices due to inflation led to fluctuations which accounted for dwindling project budget.
“Mr Speaker, the Phase 2 contract agreement was signed on June 25, 2018, to develop the irrigable area. In line with clause 5 of the Agreement, this phase was awarded to the same contractor and expected to be completed within a 24-calendar month period. The deliverables included: the completion of the housing component for the relocation of affected households and the completion of the 300 Hectare land area for piloting.
“ Currently Mr Speaker, the Client and implementing agency are making frantic efforts to address an unforeseen weak subsoil material underlying the spillway channel, which should safely convey some 300 m3/sec peak design flow (expected once every one hundred years). Addressing the problem calls for boulder and steel rods reinforcements of the critical first three hundred (300 m) meter subsoil and concrete-lined channel respectively.
“Mr Speaker, given that the dam is completed and has started filling up, it is imperative to redirect all available budget funds to resolve the spillway channel for safeguarding the dam infrastructure, and canals fillings downstream of the dam wall. I must emphasize that remedial action is urgently required to protect lives and properties located downstream. Progress Mr Speaker despite the challenges of cash flow resulting in interests’ payments, fluctuations and finally cost overruns, the implementing agency has managed together with the contractor to complete the whole dam embankment, complete with its upstream reinforced concrete protection for the entire 940 metres length dam wall, and its spillway. We have also managed to deliver 31 of the houses all of which have been handed over.
“The remaining one suffered some foundational problem, but will soon be completed. In fairness Mr Speaker it has been decided that a house should be built for the Tindana, the land overseer after he complained bitterly. Mr Speaker, all landowners have been identified and documented through the various Tiindanas, and their landholdings have been plotted on the scheme reservoir map.
“Again, all-cash tree crops have been counted and quantified. Payment is however yet to be made to the beneficiaries. A cadastral map has been developed for the Tamne irrigation reservoir area. It would be extended in the coming weeks to cover the irrigable area.
“Mr Speaker the main issue now is securing government approval of funds to fix the unexpected spillway subsoil weakness throughout 350m. this is critical for protecting the irrigation syphon carrying irrigation water under the spillway.
“Mr Speaker if the spillway channel is completed, the Contractor can through a third and final phase of the project and deliver the following within eighteen (18) months of commencement of Phase 3 namely: irrigation canals, farm roads, culverts and drains, a scheme office for the Water User Association (WUA) necessary for setting up a scheme management unit to be stationed on project site at Tamne. This will keep the farmers on the path of irrigated agriculture as envisaged.
“Mr Speaker, all told it has to be emphasized that the outstanding issues can be addressed only when funds are made available,” the Minister.
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