Crocodiles Halt Irrigation Project
At Paga, the border town in the Upper East Region, crocodiles are a source of income. Tourists visiting the northern part of that country make it a point of rendezvous, with the amphibians. At Tanoso in the Ashanti Region however, the reptiles are rather costing the nation dearly. According to Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture, crocodiles have brought the Tanoso Irrigation Project to a halt. What irks the Agriculture Minister and must be a source of worry to the whole nation is that the project is almost complete for use by the local farmers. "The Tanoso Irrigation Project is beset with one problem after the other. All works had been completed and it was ready for use, but just before the test running of the pumps and commissioning of the dam, the weir itself failed, with water flowing out under the weir wall," the Minister told Parliament House. Investigations indicated that crocodiles had burrowed under the concrete wall, allowing water to flow under the weir. Mr. Ahwoi was answering a question posed to him on the floor of Parliament by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Techiman South, Simons Addai, on why the Tanoso Dam was still not operational. According to Mr. Ahwoi, the weir of the dam would be rebuilt in the coming dry season, between January and March 2011, since provision had been made in the 2011 Budget for it. When asked whether the crocodiles should be killed in order for them not to pose a danger to the project again, Mr. Ahwoi said that would be cruel and against the laws of the environment. "We might have to relocate them. When we kill them, we will face problems from the Wildlife Society of Ghana. We will talk to the Game Reserve to see how best to address the problem," Mr. Ahwoi said. Rehabilitation work on the dam was completed within a year by December 31, 2006, when the project was handed over to Messrs SAT Engineering Limited of Sunyani on September 24, 2005. According to Mr. Ahwoi, construction of a pump house, farmers meeting hall, roads, stores for farm produce, fertiliser and chemicals, among many others, including farm irrigation works, which comprised replacing asbestos cement pipes with new PVC pipes, as well as the construction of hydrant chambers, were completed on schedule by December 31, 2005. However, Mr. Ahwoi said due to the request for extension of scope of works on the project, the Ministry could not hand over the completed works to the farmers, because the installation of pumps and sprinklers, which were under separate contracts, were outstanding. In a related development, work on the Kaniago Irrigation Scheme is seventy percent complete. Works presently being undertaken by the contractor, Messrs. Alsarlp Company Limited, include removal of stumps from the irrigable area, and the construction of five fish ponds.
Source: The Chronicle