Migration and its effects on rural development: a case study of Keta district, Ghana

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Migration is a chronic problem confronting most developing nation’s particularly sub-Saharan African countries. Rural out-migration in Ghana and elsewhere is seen mainly as a response to the spatial imbalance in the distribution of socio-economic facilities. This study looks at the causes of migration and its effects on the district and to find means of addressing the problem of migration. An overview of out-migration from Keta shows that both socio-economic and environmental factors play a decisive role in the decision of people to migrate. Other factors such as inadequate farmland, low returns due to soil infertility, and lack of credit, poor marketing/storage facilities and lack of adequate extension services, according to the study are factors hindering economic productivity in the district which induces out-migration considerably. An analysis of the effects of migration shows that the district experiences both positive and negative effects. The remittances made by the migrants play an important role in supporting the households. Some remittances were made towards improving the economic base of the district. This can not however obscure the fact that there is a corresponding negative repercussion which far outweighs the benefits. There is a reduction in the total district revenue as a result of the displacement of the human resource potentials which accompany the process of migration. In view of this, a number of proposals are made to enhance the economic strength and development of the district. Some of these include the introduction of credit/loan scheme, enhanced land holding capacity for farmers, improvement in the marketing and storage of goods, introduction of sustainable fishing and fish farming to name but a few. The sum total of these would result in the mitigation of migration from the district.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1996