Akoefe (V/R), April 9, GNA - Togbe Drake Tsigbe III, Paramount Chief of Akoefe Traditional Area in the Ho Municipality on Saturday noted that the crave for the development of cottage industries as a solution to poverty in the rural areas has failed because of lack of markets.
He said as a result, the rate of poverty in the rural areas had rather been increasing at an alarming rate. Togbe Tsigbe said this at the Launch of Akoefe Urbanization and Industrial Development Project (AUIDP) at Akoefe.
He suggested that development strategists produced rural cottage projects plans with a strong marketing concept. Togbe Tsigbe explained that the country's local markets were quite small and that there was the need to develop goods that could penetrate the sub regional market.
He said the failure to create jobs for people in the rural areas had resulted in the increase in the rural-urban drift thereby increasing pressure on the already over-stretched urban infrastructure and services.
Togbe Tsigbe said the drift could be because, over the years, governments had denied or gave less than appropriate resources for the development of the rural areas.
" Some rural areas like Akoefe have for over a decade now, in fact, received nothing direct from government", Togbe Tsigbe said. He observed that urban-rural distribution of the population in the country, which in 2001 was put at, urban centres at 36 per cent and rural areas at 64 per cent clearly showed that efforts to give jobs to rural people at home had failed.
Togbe Tsigbe observed that Accra, first point of call for most job seekers from the rural area remained the most sprawling city in the country with a lot of pressure on sanitation services and reaffirmed that rural industrialization was therefore, necessary to fight the growing rural poverty to stop the drift to the urban centres. Togbe Tsigbe said the futility of trying to eliminate poverty was why Akoefe was adopting the strategy of venturing into the markets, build strategic alliances and sell to both local and foreign markets. He therefore, appealed to the Ho Municipal Assembly to apportion some of its budgetary allocations from the central government as well as internally generated funds towards the development of commerce and industry within Akoefe to widen its revenue collection base. " Money is like manure, not good except it be spread. So the Ho Municipal Assembly should look beyond its current development boundaries for its growth and success", he said.
Togbe Tsigbe also appealed to the Ambassador of the Republic of China to help in creating the necessary channels for developing Chinese businesses at Akoefe and to foster Afro-Chinese cooperation. Dr. Sylvanus Kwami Amenuke, Senior Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) said poverty in the rural communities was due to illiteracy, ethnicity and discrimination. He therefore called on the people of Akoefe to seek education and be united and purposeful to enforce their own economic emancipation. The communities, among other things, plan to establish a social centre, a garment factory and a modern market complex to open up the area.