By Gayheart Anahor
Four major communities in the Kassena Nankana West district of the Upper East Region are to benefit from four drilled mechanized solar power boreholes for dry season irrigation farming. These communities include; Kajelo, Navem, Biba and Kachono. The project which is fully funded by the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion Project (SOCO ) and under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The four mechanized borehole solar power is said to cost 548,007 Ghana cedis and part of the amount will be used to pay unskilled labour force at an amount of 82,201.05 Ghana cedis.
Speaking at a short ceremony to hand over the site for the contractor, the District engineer Mr. Ameataba Bertimus explained that the contractor will drill four mechanized boreholes in the beneficiary communities and install solar panels which will be used to generate power. A huge reservoir of about 60 cubic meters which will contain the water for onward pumping into their farm lands will also be erected.
“A week ago, we were here to explain the modalities that we need for the recruitment of unskilled labor, the time they will work per day to be paid, the amount they will be paid, and their behavior about the work and the need for the communities to cooperate with the contractor, during that meeting, we assured the communities that in a week we would be here with the contractor to hand over the site so that he could drill the four boreholes and solar mechanized for dry season farming, that is the main reason why we are here today, he explained.
He added that the Kassena Nankana West district assembly will be playing a supervisory role to ensure that the contractor delivers quality work on time.
“The drilling is going to be done with the inspections of the district Assembly. If that is done, the contractor will bring solar panels that are going to generate the current needed for the pump to pump the water within 50 meters to hundred meters that will go into a big reservoir of sixty cubic meters which will now be the reservoir where farmers will put their tubes or pumps there and pump the water to their various pepper farms and tomatoes farms” he added.
Mr. Bertimus explained that the contractor is expected to complete the work within three months and hand over the projects to the communities.
The district assembly disclosed that the contractor shall pay 0.1 percent damages to the assembly if he fails to complete the project within the stipulated period.
District Chief Executive for Kassena Nankana West, Mr. Ataogye highlighted to the media that a good number of community-driven projects are going to be carried out in the phase one of the SOCO project.
“In Kassena Nankana West, we are benefitting from a lot of these projects, in fact, let me be quick to tell you that these projects are chosen by the people themselves in the various communities”.
He indicated that a number of projects including the construction of a 16-unit market stall complex at Sirigu, completion of a CHPS compound at Kandiga Atibabisi which was started by the former member of parliament Lawyer Rudolf Amega-Etigo but stalled due to funding , rehabilitation of Nabango town water system, construction of one triple 1.8 diameter culvert at Mirigu Gonum, rehabilitation of an abattoir at Paga new market and other life-changing projects will be undertaken under the SOCO initiative.
Farmers from the four beneficiary communities who spoke to the media expressed their joy at benefiting from the solar-powered mechanized borehole project once it is completed. They also noted that the project will go a long way to eradicate poverty in the area.
Mr. Tepana Peter, a farmer in the Kajelo community disclosed to the media that some of the farmers who had mechanized their boreholes powered by the national grid are going out of dry season farming due to high cost of electricity tariffs. He stated that the solar-powered mechanized boreholes when completed, will help boost dry season irrigational farming in the area.
Mr. Gilbert Kuduma another farmer lamented that farmers have been struggling over the years to cultivate good yields due to shortage of water in the area.
He added that the project will provide jobs for the youth and reduce poverty.
Mr. Aniakwo Hilary, Assemblyman for the Kajelo electoral area highlighted the long term benefits the solar-powered mechanized boreholes will bring to augment the small dams and the wells in the area.
Mr. Kututera Peter, the contractor with Hydronomics Company Limited promised to execute the project within three months and pleaded for cooperation from the beneficiary communities.