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General News of Thursday, 31 May 2007

Source: GNA

Rehabilitation of Tono Dam to Begin by September

Tono (U/E), May 31, GNA - The long awaited rehabilitation of the Tono irrigation facility near Navrongo in the Upper East Region would begin by September.

The government has made available funds for the project and advertisements have been placed in the national dailies inviting bids from contractors.

"Tenders would be opened around July and those contractors who would be selected would be expected to mobilise and get to site by September," Alhaji Issah Bukari, the Managing Director of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR), said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Tono.

Alhaji Bukari said the facility had not seen any rehabilitation since its construction in 1975 and described its present state as "near collapse."

"The entire system would not have lasted beyond the next five years if government had not intervened now. Some of the canals have begun to give way, causing a lot of water leakage. This has in turn affected dam use as we have had to reduce the number of acreage put under cultivation," he said.

Alhaji Bukari said news about the impending rehabilitation works had brought relief to ICOUR staff and farming communities in the area. About 4,000 farm families from nine villages stretching from Navrongo Central to Builsa South depend on the Tono irrigation facility for their livelihood.

They engage in both rain-fed and dry season farming, cultivating maize, rice, soya bean, sorghum and groundnuts as well as tomato, onion, cabbage, carrots and pepper. Fish farming is also carried on a small scale.

The Managing Director said the revamping of the Tono facility would contribute significantly to poverty reduction, food security and job creation in the Upper East Region. 31 May 07