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General News of Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Source: GNA

Food crisis looms in the Upper West

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Wa, July 10, GNA - Usually, they come by air but this time round, the number two man, Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama came by road on July 5 to the Upper West Region to have a feel of what it takes to be in the countryside, have a fair knowledge of problems people face and to hear from them what they think about the policies and programmes of the government.

Perhaps, the trip is to test his strength on the rough and bone-shaking roads as he is gunning to be the presidential candidate of the NPP in Election 2008.

He came through Kumasi, bypassed Sunyani before linking Techiman to Bamboi to inspect work on the ongoing 53-kilometre Bole/Bamboi road that links the region to the southern part of the country. Vice President Mahama would have been a happy man while on his way from the south because it has been raining there. But this writer guesses his heart bled throughout his five-day official visit to the Upper West Region looking at the withering vegetation and crops caused by drought in the three northern regions.

As the number two father of the nation and a farmer, he would be miserable throughout his tour, one on the failure of crops to perform and two, the energy situation.

His first experience would be at Bamboi where the Black Volta showed its depth to His Excellency. There is no water in the river. Parts of the river have dried up, a sign that the energy crisis in the country would persist for long.

It is not only the Black Volta that has no water; one of the tributaries of the White Volta, the Wahabu River, also has no water. Indeed, all rivers and streams in the Upper West Region are empty. Right from Bamboi, one could see from both sides of the road large tracts of maize withering. The situation is worse in the some parts of the Upper West Region where some farmers cannot even go to their farms because all their crops had withered. Some of them had re-ploughed their crops and awaiting rain to sow new crops.

There is therefore the likelihood that the people in the region may experience hunger next year if the rains continue to fail them. The new yam and beans are not yet out, a situation never experienced in the region. The government must get itself prepared to send food aid to the people if the situation fails to change.

Some of the communities the Vice President toured included Bamboi, Bole, Sawla and Tuna in the Northern Region, Wa, Funsi, Kaleo, Tumu, Gwollu, Suke and Lambussie in the Upper West Region where traditional rulers had demanded for the provision of good roads, electricity, potable water and health facilities. 10 July 07

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