Provision of transverse and longitudinal transport services on the Volta Lake in the Krachi Catchment Area

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Transportation is responsible for personal mobility; provides access to services, jobs, and leisure activities; and it is critical to the delivery of consumer goods. Water based transport is effective because, operating costs of fuel are low and environmental pollution is lower than for corresponding volumes of movement by road, rail or air. A major advantage is that the main infrastructure – the waterway – is often naturally available. Inland water transport on the Volta Lake to Krachi and its surrounding communities is unavoidable on account of peninsula feature. Transport services on the lake are thus important to help the residents in the area to have access to socio economic facilities including education, health delivery services and market centres. It is in this regard that the study sought to examine the provision of transverse and longitudinal transport services on the Volta Lake in the Krachi catchment area. The study adopted a cross-sectional design with two panels; Krachi and the communities along the lake formed one panel (urban Krachi) and the communities across the lake formed the second panel (rural Krachi). Both questionnaires and interview guides were used to elicit the views of household heads with the ultimate motive of answering the research questions set out in this study. In this study, 214 household heads were sampled together with the Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC), the Krachi West District Assembly (KWDA), the Krachi West District Health Service as well as the boat and canoe owners associations. The study revealed that, transport services rendered on the Volta Lake in the study area is divided between the VLTC of the formal sector and the private boat owners of the informal sector. Whereas the transverse transport services (across the lake) are provided solely by the ferry owned by the VLTC, the longitudinal transport services (along the lake) are provided by privately owned boats. The total quantity of fish brought to Kajaji on market days by private boat operators and canoes was estimated at 120,351 kilograms (120.351 tonnes per week) which amounts to 6,258.252 tonnes for the 52 weeks in a year. The value of an average basket of fish was GH₵450.00 on the market which implies that, about GH₵2,578,950.00 accrue as revenue in a year to people engaged in the fishing business in the study area. This contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of the local economy of the study area. It is estimated that, the Volta Lake Transport Company, earns a total of GH₵590,000 in a year for the 118,000 passengers it ferries across the Volta Lake. This makes the operations of the company viable in terms of the patronage and the revenue that accrues to it. Access to education, health care services and market centres are hampered as rural residents cover longer distances, spend much time and incur high cost to access these facilities inland. It is thus concluded that, residents of the study area are essentially captive to travel on the lake by boats and small canoes as well as ferries. Based on these findings, it was recommended that, the VLTC should consider increasing its landing sites to cover more island communities. In addition, the Ghana Health Service in the district should also consider running a mobile health service for island communities. Furthermore, the District Assembly and stakeholders in education like the GETFUND should provide school blocks to make up for the backlog in basic school infrastructure in the district. Transportation is seen as a means to an end and an end in itself. It thus, suggests that, there is a link between the availability of transport services and levels of poverty. In the near future, a research can be undertaken to investigate the correlation between provision of transport services and the level of poverty in the study area.  
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2014
transverse,, longitudinal transport ,, Volta Lake,, Krachi, Catchment Area