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13.12.2002 Regional News

Govt secures loan to widen technology in rural areas

By gna
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Ho (Volta Region) -- The government has secured a $29m facility as part of its Poverty Alleviation Strategy to widen the scope of technology of rural industries under the Rural Enterprise Project (REP) - Phase Two.

Fifty-two districts would be introduced to the technology that is capable of transforming their storage, transport and food processing capacities beginning next year. The project would be undertaken in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the African Development Bank.

Prof. Dominic Fobih, Minister of Environment and Science, said this at a two-day Policy Seminar for the Working Group on Rural Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises Promotion and Development on Thursday.

The Minister at the same ceremony inaugurated a 14-member Project Steering Committee for the Rural Enterprise Project - Phase Two. Prof. Fobih said the government was aware that rural development targets could not be attained by agricultural production alone because activity in that sector was primary and seasonal.

He said the government would, therefore, promote the development of science and technology at all levels for an integrated economic growth of the rural areas. Prof. Fobih said the REP One that started in 1995 and ends this year had been very successful in reducing rural poverty, generated employment and increased incomes in the 13 target districts in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.

He said the immediate objective of REP - Two would be to promote a competitive rural micro and small-scale enterprise sector to replicate the success story of the REP - One. Prof. Fobih said independent studies of REP had indicated that there were opportunities to increase incomes in rural areas from investing in small-scale processing and adding value to products.

Organisations represented on the Committee include the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Finance, Trade and Industry, Local Government, Women and Children's Affairs, National Development Planning Commission, Bank of Ghana, GRATIS and a representative of District Chief Executives of implementing districts.

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