Floods, Bagre dam spillage destroys 7,000 hectares of crops

The Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.that destroyed farms in the Upper East Region

The Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.that destroyed farms in the Upper East Region

More than 7,000 hectares of farmland of crops such as maize, rice, millet, sorghum, and groundnuts have been destroyed in various communities in the Upper East Region as a result of this year’s torrential rains and the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.

Apart from the destruction of the crops, many of the affected communities have their houses collapsed, compelling majority of them to seek refuge in classrooms and with relatives.

These came to light when the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in charge of Crops, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, including some key staff of the ministry paid working visits to some of the affected communities to interact with the affected farmers and to see how the government could help.

Briefing the deputy minister about the regional situation, the Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr. Francis Ennor, said more than 6,226 farmers from 65 communities in ten districts of the region have their farms destroyed.

He said that almost all the 15 districts and  municipalities were affected, adding that  954.4 hectares of rice, 598 hectares of maize, 494 hectares of sorghum, 212 hectares of millet and 799 hectares of groundnut farms had been destroyed.

Among some of the areas the deputy minister visited with his entourage were Dooba, Bonia communities and the Tono project site in the Kassena-Nankana municipality and the Pwalugu community in the Talensi District.

Whilst some of the farmers have their farms still submerged in water others were seen receding.

Most of the farmers particularly women who poured out their sentiments about the situation to the deputy minister and his entourage said apart from them envisaging difficulties in getting foodstuff to feed themselves and their  families, it would also be a  major  problem for them to do dry season farming and  provide for the needs of their children’s education.

Whilst lauding the efforts of the government’s policy of Planting for Food and Jobs, the farmers appealed to the government to  extend the subsidy of the farm inputs they gave for the rainy season  to the  dry season, to enable them to farm.

The farmers at the Tono irrigation facility in the Kassena-Nankana municipality appealed to the government to support them get market for their farm produce and to also assist them with tractor and combine harvester services.

The deputy minister sympathised with the farmers and encouraged them not to give up in their farming activities to help feed the nation, and said the government was much concerned about their plight, and that was why he had been directed by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to come and conduct assessment about the situation.

He assured the farmers that the ministry would consider the possibility of extending the government’s farm subsidy programme on fertiliser and seeds for the farmers to farm during the dry season to complement what had been lost.

Dr Bambangi said the ministry was liaising with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to ensure affected households that had not yet received any support from the government were attended to.

The Municipal Chief Executive for the Kassena-Nankana East, Mr.Willams Adum and the Talensi District Chief Executive, Dr. Christopher Boatbil Sormiteyema including some senior staff from the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) accompanied the deputy minister on the tour.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, NAVRONGO

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