The Brong Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, in collaboration with the German Technical Cooperation and some local development partners, has initiated a roundtable conference to brainstorm and come up with strategies to harness the various resources that abound in the region, in order to ensure its rapid development as well as enhancing the living conditions of the people.
The maiden roundtable economic development discussion sought to provide a platform for initiating and sustaining stakeholder experiences, share and disseminate good practices, identify the needs of the population and chart the way for harnessing the potentials of the region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Monday, Ernest Akubuor Debrah, Minister for food and Agriculture and MP for Tano North, observed that for the Brong-Ahafo Region to make good use of opportunities that exist in the region, there was the need for absolute peace and unity, which, he said, "shall constitute, the bedrock of any economic development in the region.'
He therefore appealed to the chiefs and people in the region as well as politicians to give peace a chance, adding that, 'without peace and unity, economic developments will be an illusion.'
Mr. Debrah identified, among others things, the lack of financial support services for farming activities, low producer prices, inadequate market, storage and processing facilities, as some of the problems confronting agricultural practices in the region.
He also called for the participation of the private sector to overcome the challenges to agricultural development in the areas of input procurement and distribution, production, marketing, storage and processing.
Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Abraham Kwadwo Kwakye, noted with regret that even though the region abounds in so many natural resources and tourist attractions, little had been done to tap them to realise their economic benefits.
According to him, less that one-third of these resources had been tapped for the socio-economic development of the area.
'The consequence' he stated, 'is that our people continue to live in poverty in the midst of these abundant resources.'
The roundtable business discussion is a brainchild of the local and regional economic development component of the Programme on Sustainable Economic Development, which since 2004, has supported five districts in the region, namely Berekum, Kintampo, Techiman, Sunyani and Asutifi, in the creation of a business-enabling environment to promote entrepreneur's access to business development service.
The Regional Economic Development process, with key support from the regional Task Force on Economic Development, has responsibility for evolving, adapting and replicating appropriate local and Regional Economic Development concepts and tools to promote economic development services.