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Source: myjoyonline. com - The revived Aveyime Irrigation Project in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region is on the verge of collapse again as a result of high electricity bills.

That is according to managers of the facility and farmers there. 

Electricity is used to power heavy machines to pump water from the Volta River over hundreds of meters to nearby farms. 
The project was originally constructed to feed more than 700 hectares of farmlands. It collapsed in the 1990s, but was revived in 2011. 
Currently, 94 farmers are benefiting from the project farming 54 hectares of rice farmlands. It is run by the Irrigation Development Authority. 

It had all been working well until the latest electricity tariff hikes which doubled their expenses on electricity.

Now, they pay about GHC11000 every month to the ECG in tariffs. Each farmer pays GHC1000 now for each hectar of farm every cropping season. 

Secretary of the farmers’ cooperative, Ernest Yakah told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo who visited the project site this is making farmers struggle to break even. 
“The electricity bill, it has been divided now, a hectare for GHC1000. Which is about five or six bags of rice so, for the small farm sizes, what more will be left?” he quizzed.

The facility currently owes more than GHC7000 in unpaid bills. Former project manager Joshua Tsahey does not understand why they are charged commercial tariffs for the electricity they consume.

He says the use of electricity for agricultural purposes by subsistence farmers should not attract commercial rates but domestic charges.

Mr. Tsahey warns the project could collapse again if government does not step in. 

“At one time, we were owing almost GHC83,000. Three to four months back, our bill was almost ¢8000 and it is making the project collapse. In no time, the people will not be able to pay. Even, now, if not for a benevolent investor, we will not have been able to pay up,” he told Joy News.

Current Project Manager Samuel Debrah says they plan to expand the irrigation facilities to cover more farms soon, but they will need some relieve when it comes to the electricity tariffs. 

The farmers want a quick government intervention. “Government can always come to our aid, and reduce the tariff, and make it domestic tariff, not a commercial one, so we can also survive,” a farmer, C. K. Allotey told Joy News.


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