Posted: Monday 28th April 2014 at 12:42 pm

Blueprint to transform Eastern Region unveiled


A three-fold blueprint that would transform the Eastern Region into a hub of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the hinterland has been unveiled.

Under the blueprint, which is the initiative of the Regional Minister, Mr Julius Debrah, each of the 22 districts in the region would be required to develop agriculture, agro-processing or tourism, taking into consideration the area of comparative advantage.

The initiative would be based on SMEs which would absorb the large army of the region’s unemployed youth to generate income for their livelihood and that of their dependants and subsequently reduce poverty in the area. Natural resources

Unveiling the blueprint at a meeting with municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) and other stakeholders in Koforidua at the weekend, Mr Debrah said the region had enormous natural resources, tourism potential and large tracts of arable land which, when fully exploited, had the capacity to transform the region into an industrial hub in the hinterland. Comparative advantage

Such a transformation, according to him, would only materialise if each of the 22 political entities could encourage operators of the SMEs to develop agriculture, the mainstay of the people, tourism or engage in agro-processing.

“Our region is endowed with natural resources such as minerals, arable land, and tourist attractions, and we have to engage the private sector by involving the SMEs in their exploration for the benefit of our people.

“If  SMEs are to get the necessary support from the assemblies to go into full-scale farming, agro-processing or the development of tourist facilities, then the region will in the near future be an industrial hub in the hinterland,” Mr Debrah told the gathering.

Mr Debrah, therefore, entreated the assemblies to, as a matter of urgency, formulate and implement their development plans in that respect.

At the meeting, each of the MDCEs also unveiled their development plan, highlighting areas of comparative advantage.

For instance, while the Yilo Krobo District focused on mango production and processing, the Kwaebibirem District, a forest zone, concentrated on the cultivation of oil palm and citrus, while Asuogyaman, which borders the Volta Lake, planned to give aqua-culture a boost. Light industries

Other municipalities such as Suhum, Kwahu West and West Akyem have as their plans the establishment of light industries. 

The region, which is the third most populous, has a large stretch of arable land suitable for the cultivation of a cash crop such as cocoa and food crops such as maize and cassava. Demography

About 60 per cent of the population is engaged in agriculture, 35 per cent in commerce, while the rest are salaried workers or engaged in other businesses.

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