Traditional craft industries and rural development with special reference to kenteweaving, woodcarving and pottery industries

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Rural development, both as policy, and process of rural improvement has become the concern of most countries in the Third World. Rural development aims at improving the economic arid social well-being over specific group of people, the rural poor. Few people would disagree with so evidently worthy a goal; the problem is how to achieve it. It is now widely recognized by development Economists, Planners and Politicians alike, that rural development is broader than agricultural development because it is a distinct approach to the development of the economy as a whole. It is rather unfortunate that developing countries and. aid—giving agencies continue to assume that rural development is synonymous with increase in agriculture production. Even though agriculture is of prime importance, it is actually a solution to part of the problem. It is necessary to link increased agricultural production with Industrialization in order to improve upon the general conditions in the rural areas. This probably calls for the need to develop the traditional craft industries in Ghana. Traditional craft industries have been found to have simple production methods which demand minimum skills and would make use of local materials to conserve foreign exchange and would produce for local use, among several other benefits to be derived. The various governments of Ghana have made attempts to promote and develop these traditional craft industries but the various attempts have met little or no success. The craft industries are still embedded with several teething problems which inhibit their rapid development to facilitate the expected multiplier effects on output, income and employment among the rural folks. This study, therefore, has the objective of identifying the problems inherent in the traditional craft industries with the view of making suggestions for their solution so as to play their proper role located. The scope of the study is narrowed to three craft industries in the Ejisu-Bosumtwi and Agona-Kwabre Districts of Ashanti Region. The selected craft industries for the study are Kenteweaving at Bonwire; Potterymaking at Medoma (near Pankronu); and woodcarving at Ahwiaa. Both Primary and Secondary data were used for the study. The primary data were gathered through field surveys carried out by the author. Several interviews were held with craftsmen, government officials of the Ministries and departments; chiefs and other traditional heads concerned with traditional craft industries. The secondary data were mainly gathered from the libraries. The analysis of the data collected has shown that the craft industries are capital-saving and involve little or no foreign exchange components; they need little capital to be established; they make use of local resources; they are highly income yielding; and produce for local use. Their problems have, however, been lack of adequate financial resources to establish them; the unwillingness of the young people to take to the industries; lack of co-operative ventures; inadequate and irregular supply of raw materials and other inputs. Considering the problems facing the craft industries certain recommendations have been made, which, when adopted would go a long way to minimize, if not eradicate; the problems facing the industries. Such policy measures as establishing Rural Banks at the Study Centres; Organising competitions among the youths to arouse their interests in the industries; establishing co-operative societies; diversifying the products of the industries to create wider market for the industries; and the establishment of an Implementing and Monitoring Board to ensure the success of the project8 set up in the rural areas, have been recommended. Even though there could be other alternatives, it is expected that the adoption of the recommendations made in the study would go a long way to reactivate and promote the craft industries so as to enhance development in the rural areas in particular, and Ghana as a whole.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Planning, 1984