Transportation problems in the Ashanti Region: a case study of the cocoa industry and distributive trade

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Transportation plays a vital role in the life of a region. It is that ‘aspect of economic activity which provides for the carriage of goods and persons from one place to another. The transportation of a country, therefore, is the circulatory system of the area. The networks of transportation in a country, thus, form the veins and arteries through which the activities of the country take place. One of the most important features of transportation, therefore, is that, it is an important element in the production of goods and services. This is because production is not complete until the finished goods get to the final consumer. A high degree of mobility therefore has a pervasive influence both on the way people live and on the vas they earn their living. An inefficient transportation system, therefore perpetuate underdevelopment and leaves the people in abject poverty. For this reason, every nation, or region, tries to have, as much as possible, the transportation system that will ensure fast and safe mobility to accelerate the rate of its economic growth. In an attempt to achieve high developmental standards, the Ashanti Region in Ghana has made efforts over the years to establish an efficient and effective transport system to ensure the smooth transportation of her agricultural commodities like cocoa, timber etc. But the existing transportation system in the region has filed to provide the needed impact. The study, therefore, seeks to investigate the transportation problems in the Ashanti Region, especially the cocoa bean industry and the distributive trade sector. Based on the stated problem the study objective is to sty the problems of the existing transportation system in the region especially, the cocoa bean industry and the distributive sector, and to come out with recommendations to help improve the situation. In order to achieve the study’s objective, the following steps were undertaken: firstly, the study had to look at the study area, as regards its characteristic — physical and human, including it economy. It was found out that the study area is rich in many resources like gold, bauxite, timber, human resources, and, above all, leads in cocoa production other food crops in the country. Secondly, the existing transportation system in the region s also studied. It was found out to be highly made to - a low road density of 0.16 km/, ranking sixth in the country and in a very poor state of disrepair. The reasons for such a poor state of the transportation system could be seen in years of improper planning and implantation of transportation projects and several years of neglect. As a result of the above, cocoa beans ware left unevacuated at the production centres; distributive trade also suffered a great setback as commodities could not be easily moved. There were also problems of erratic and insufficient supply of fuel and spare parts. The consequences of such problems include high transport fares resulting in high prices of goods, long journey time, frequent accidents and low productivity due to the poor mobility. To rectify such anomalies, the study recommends, among other things that, in the short-term, maintenance o the existing transportation system should be a priority. Roads, railways and roiling stock should be maintained to increase the rate of mobility in the region. Again, it was suggested that, the government should try to implement its policy on vehicle standardisation in order to reduce the trouble of having to import so maze different types of vehicle spares; regularise the supply of fuel and spare parts by importing more and distributing them through recognised bodies like the Ghana Private Road Transport Union; and ensuring proper planning which will be based on the region’s resources and the proper implementation and monitoring of planned transportation projects. It is hoped that the recommendations of this study will lead to the creation of an efficient and effective transportation system for the region. This will eventually lead to a sound and buoyant economy for the Ashanti Region in particular, and the nation as a whole.
A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Award of the Master of Science Degree in Regional Planning,1984.