Ghana government urged to modernise agriculture, enhance education quality to address North-South labour migration

Prof Augustine Tanle

Prof Augustine Tanle, Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast (UCC), has urged government to take practical steps to close the development gap between northern and southern Ghana to mitigate the incidence of widespread poverty and deprivation in the north.

The Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies made the remarks in his professorial lecture on the theme: “Interrogating North-South seasonal migration in Ghana as a livelihood strategy.”

He said developing the five regions of the north through deliberate policies was necessary to check the incidence of north-south labour migration as a livelihood strategy which was no longer sustainable due to the emergence of technology and environmental changes.

“The decreasing demand for their services could worsen poverty and deprivation because the area already experiences the highest levels of both multidimensional and monetary poverty over the years,” he said.

As a critical step, he proposed to government to take measures to enhance the quality of formal education and also, modernise agriculture in the north.

Prof Tanle observed that successive governments after colonial rule had focused mainly on developing the southern sector which had led to limited socio-economic opportunities in the north.

He noted that the attendant challenges such as high unimproved sources of drinking water, poor toilet facilities, bad roads, high infant mortality, and poor health systems coupled with harsh climatic conditions forced the people down to the south.

Prof Tanle maintained that since agriculture was the main livelihood activity in the north, there was the need to modernise agriculture devoid of partisan and rhetoric to improve livelihoods.

He intimated that the northern sector could become a major food basket through the provision of irrigation facilities, inputs such as fertilizer and other relevant chemicals, machines, and technical support, even though their soil was considered relatively less fertile.

In addition to agriculture, he said young people in the north required access to quality formal education to improve their quality of life and make them more useful since education was an equaliser.

“Involvement of pupils and students in north-south seasonal labour migration could lead to low educational attainment and limited opportunities in future. This could lead to inter-generational transfer of poverty,” he stressed.

Prof Tanle also advocated the creation of development poles in Wa, Tamale, Bolgatanga, Damongo and Nelarigu to serve as catalyst to promote and link socio-economic opportunities and development to rural areas to reduce the seasonal labour migration.

“This is consistent with Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s policy of creating industrial zones to provide employment opportunities for people,” he said.

“The Savannah Development Authority needs to be proactive to bridge the wide socio-economic and infrastructural gap between northern and southern Ghana,” he added.

The professor shuddered that if the inequalities perpetuated, Ghana was likely to miss the Sustainable Development Goals One, two, four, six and 10 which deal with poverty, hunger, quality education, clean water and sanitation, and reduced inequalities, respectively.

Prof Tanle was appointed to teach at UCC in 2004 and rose through the ranks to become a professor in 2018.

He has 48 articles, three book chapters, and three technical reports among other achievements.

Additionally, he has supervised 15 MPhil and five PhD students and is currently supervising nine PhD students.

Source: GNA

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