As we gear towards Hogbetsotso festivals I salute all our traditional rulers, their cabinet ministers, the organizers and the entire citizens of the Anlo municipality. As the D-day approaches, we must all ponder over the developmental goals of our community especially the deplorable state of the Keta Lagoon fishing industry.
This year festival in November must have a theme which exert pressure on government to borrow money to support the industry because of the enormous employment opportunities that exist in it expansion and upgrading. For example, fish processing, cold storage facilities, and marketing channels are additional niche with huge employment benefits.
Keta Lagoon once upon a time provided great economic opportunities and sustenance for the people of Anlo before the construction of the Akosombo dam which greatly affected the local fishing industry. As a result the municipality experienced massive migration to the north of the dam in search of favorable fishing environment. And to worsen it, the education our grand-parents and parent had, and what we are having now does not prepare us to appreciate and upgrade the Keta Lagoon (ancestral inheritance), as a result the economy is losing job opportunities and millions of Ghana cedis.
It is therefore incumbent upon the citizens to know that, throughout history a self-determining community is like a Kingdom that is able to know the value of the land they occupy, cherish it, protect it and most of all utilize that land and its resources to feed her citizens, create economic activities for graduates, artisans and school dropouts.
Such potential of a bequeath municipality will attract and retain not only her citizens but others to work and realize their full potentials. The prospect to build on those potentials will create other modernized and upgraded versions of a strong vibrant financial system.
History thought us that, land acquisition, protecting and using that land and its resources fully was and is still the origin of innovation and creativity. Hence, an autonomous community or a nation from the onset was and is a thriving economy established on farming and fishing.
These economic activities still exist and became a unique underpinning process of technological novelty elevating a whole area or community of nations from abject poverty. No matter how primitive the formula (i.e. fishing and farming method) was and is became the foundation upon which developed communities exploit the talent of their citizens.
Therefore the Anlo Kingdom cannot afford the numerous institutions like Anseco, Ketasco, Zico, Ketabusco, Spaco, Antech, Akatsico, Aborsco, just to mention a few to produce graduates to feed the industries of other Kingdoms, and other continents.
I am therefore pleading with the leaders and the organizers, well wishers, Awomefia Togbi Sri III and all his Chiefs and citizens to take cognizance of the fact that cultivating the land (rivers, lakes and lagoon) is the model and unpublicized SECRET. This is a dependable way for moving communities into the middle class not OIL or GAS as the citizens are made to believe.
The developed nations in the West, Russia, and now China do invest sizable portion of their human capital and financial intake in agriculture and fishing to sustain their economic growth. For that reason, Awomefia togbi Sri III and his Chiefs should take the mantle of Anlo fishing Kingdom proudly and pull all our human and financial resources towards effective and efficient development of the Keta Lagoon and transform it into a fishing industry that can absorb our entire idle and future workforce.
Such a fishing industry will influence our schools to train students to work not only in the fields but in other departments' e.g. administration, finance, human resource, nursing, engineering, quality control, cleaning, and security just to mention a few. And if concerted effort can be made in financing this project, royalties can be generated to build a permanent Royal Palace and financial upkeep of the King and His Chiefs. This will give us a competitive edge with sister Kingdoms like the Kingdom of the Ashanti who receive royalties from cocoa farms and gold mines, and now the horizon is looking good for the Fanti kingdom to start receiving royalties from crude oil, gas and Komenda Sugar Factory.
Therefore, I am begging our Leaders for their indulgence especially our MPs, MCE and other officials doing business in government on our behalf to earmark sizable portion of our district budget to fishing and agriculture in addition to private partnership initiatives. Because once our Kingdom attain agriculture and fishing independence all the socio- economic activities will be attain with substantial value added to education.
Fellow citizens of our Kingdom, we all want to enjoy and experience the lifestyle that exist in America, Canada, Britain and the rest of the Europe. It is a good thing and appropriate and our Kingdom should not deprive her citizen from such opportunity. But as we strive to become Westernized or Europeanized in our democracy, our district for that matter Kings and Chiefs who are the custodians of our land needs to understand the very institutions that make the system of America and Europe dazzling and attractive.
This is not only an intellectual debate or technological research, but based on the experience in North America and Europe. The evidence of my plea is in the heartland (rural, villages, urban) of western countries where the mystery surrounding their greatness lie.
Today I pray God Almighty will grant the custodians of our Great Kingdom the wisdom to understand and implement lessons learned from the realities on our streets, in the villages and towns in Africa and the Western World to see the vast difference in their choices of fundamental investment policies.
The Anlo Kingdom future economic growth (in rural and urban centers) will depend on her ability to direct at least 60% of her budget from government and private sector into fishing and agriculture NOT OIL. It is time for a new focus in our Kingdom where our government is held accountable (MP's, Assemblymen and women) to identify and implement various fishing and agriculture spinoffs (by-products industries) that will advance our Kingdom's economic interests and sustain our way of life.
Finally, we need a marshal plan to supplement both government and private investment in this endeavor. The leaders must be able to make a persuasive argument that will win the hearts and minds of the people to accept the plea of voluntary contribution of any amount at funerals, Easter, and community development occasions. These contributions shall directly go to Anlo Fishing Industry fund listed on Ghana Stock Exchange through a reputable fund management firm.
This Hogbetsotso festival must be rededicated to our Kingdom's economic growth and sustenance, able to reduce Ghana's fish deficit and the plight of sister nations through UN refugee management programs.